By Eva Kekou, 4Humanities International Correspondent
In December 2010, the Greek Ministry of Education announced a 15-20% reduction in funds for adjunct lecturers and professors teaching at public Greek universities. The announcement came four months into the Fall 2010 semester, when, at the time, adjunct faculty had already been teaching without a signed contract and without having been paid at all for the semester! As a result, either adjunct faculty salaries have to be drastically reduced to reflect the pay cuts, or a large number of them have to be laid off for the Spring 2011 semester, thus reducing the number of courses offered for students. At the same time, the Greek Ministry of Education has delayed the appointment of elected tenured-track faculty for about 2 years and refuses to open new permanent academic positions to cover for the lost adjunct faculty positions. All of this puts Greek universities under tremendous stress and many departments will not be able to function properly; this is especially true for smaller regional universities, whose teaching and research activities depend upon adjunct teaching staff.
The reduction of funding for adjunct faculty is part of a broader attack on public higher education that includes pressure on universities to start charging students with tuition, to accept business-style academic management, to seek funding from private corporations, to reduce the total number of departments and schools, and to eliminate tenure for assistant professors. As a result, hundreds of adjunct lecturers and professors, many of them with many years of academic and research experience, are facing massive layoffs. (Read the petition against these cuts here)