WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
CLOSEOpt Out: I already like WMFE!

Like us on Facebook!

Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Valencia and Seminole State College adjunct professors scramble to make a living wage and now, they want a union


Play Audio

Image: Valencia College, orlandoweekly.com

Jennifer Copp is at the end of her rope.

The 46-year-old has two degrees in photography. She’s taught college students as an adjunct professor for about 14 years, giving lectures at various institutions across Central Florida.

And yet, Copp only earns $18,000 to $19,000 a year in a career that offers her no benefits. She teaches two to four classes every semester at Seminole State College – but to make ends meet, she also adjuncts at nearby colleges and universities. Copp drives around less now because she has to take care of her 7-year-old daughter, who has special needs. To help pay the bills, Copp’s 80-year-old mother also teaches part-time at Seminole State.

Copp and other adjunct professors at Seminole State and Valencia have filed for a union election to fight for better wages, job security and standards in higher education. Though they are considered “part-time faculty,” adjunct professors make up the bulk of educators at both colleges. Florida lawmakers have refused to increase funding over the last two years for state colleges – and in turn, faculty at Hillsborough Community College, Broward College and the University of South Florida have voted to unionize.

Both Valencia and Seminole State say they will be reviewing employees’ petitions. Meanwhile, Copp says her current career is not sustainable.

“The pay is so low it forces us onto Medicaid and public assistance,” she says. “I can’t support my daughter and myself.”


Sign Up For 90.7 WMFE's Newsletter

Catch up on the latest Central Florida news and get updates on programs, events and more.

SUBSCRIBE

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

TOP