A Defense of Policies Banning the Hiring of Spouses

October 11, 2020
 
 

To the Editor:

Although I can understand the frustration of Anonymous, who could not get a full-time teaching position at her husband's university, I'd like to offer a counter viewpoint.

I work in a department where full-time positions become available only every three to five years, and there are only three full-time positions. The majority of the department is adjunct. When one of the full-time positions became available, the wife of one of the full-time professors was given the job. The husband was not on the hiring committee; however, the hiring committee was composed of two or three professors in the same office space and another professor who worked with the wife in another department.

This is why some universities have this policy. When a professor's spouse knows all of the people who are hiring on a much better basis than the adjuncts who rarely run into the hiring committee members in the halls, then they are much more likely to get a full-time position. Instead of complaining about the policy of not hiring faculty spouses, the author should be highlighting the economic disparities between full-time and adjunct professors.  The full-time position is meant to support a family without a working spouse at the expense of adjuncts, who as Anonymous said can teach almost the same amount of classes below a poverty wage. Why should Anonymous or any other spouse who has better access to networking with people who can further their career be given another full-time position at the expense of the rest of the assistant or adjunct professors? The true problem with this account is that full-time professors can be given such high wages that their spouses can be "forced" into working in social clubs and at university events while adjuncts struggle to pay the rent.

An Anonymous Adjunct
 

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