Campus, News

Clark College Strike: Instructors Speak From The Picket Line

Cassia Gammill ducks under a tree and out of the rain in her red poncho.
Cassia Gammill said she is glad that full-time faculty are standing in solidarity with adjuncts. (Matthew Fields/ The Indy)

Rain pelted down on windblown picketers as they made their way down the picket line outside Clark. Many drivers honked in support of the rally and Clark’s adjuncts.

The brisk rain and cold weather didn’t stop Cassia Gammill from reporting to the picket lines at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. 

Gammill is an adjunct English professor at Clark College. She earned her A.A. from Portland Community College and went on to study at Portland State University, where she earned her M.A. in English. 

Gammill taught 10 credits at Clark during the Fall quarter, but is only teaching five credits for the winter quarter. 

“All of us educators give a lot to Clark and we’re treated as expendable,” Gammill said. “That ultimately affects students and Clark students deserve better.” 

Gammill also teaches part-time at PSU, where her course load varies per quarter. 

Dozens of union members gather outside Baird Hall.
Union members gather for a rally on the steps of Baird Hall. (Matthew Fields/ The Indy)

Arwen Spicer has a Ph.D. in English and has taught at Clark since 2015. Spicer teaches English and occasionally College 101. 

“It varies as it does for most adjuncts,” Spicer said about credit load. Spicer teaches 15 credits in the Fall, and 10 in Spring and 10 in Winter.

“It varies so much which is the problem with being an adjunct,” Spicer said about their pay. She said this is a systemic problem and reaching a settlement will still not be enough to live on. 

Spicer said she taught a few classes at Portland State University as well as Clark recently due to not being paid enough from her main employer.

Mitzi Schrag stands out front of Clark College with a picket sign slung over her shoulder.
Although Mitzi Schrag plans on retiring soon, she believes its important to stand with her peers. (Matthew Fields/ The Indy)

Mitzi Schrag has a Ph.D. in English and has been an instructor at Clark College since 1997. 

Schrag is now a full-time faculty member here at Clark where she teaches American Literature, Mythology and a few English Composition courses. 

“It seems so obvious, but we would really rather be in the classroom,” Schrag said. “But these people are not paid very well, especially the adjuncts, and they don’t have a lot of options.” 

Schrag typically teaches around 13 credits every quarter. She plans on retiring within the next year. 

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