Many philosophy conferences charge fees, with one rate for faculty and a lower rate for students. A philosopher who is an adjunct at a state university, and who at this time would prefer to remain anonymous, is trying to get conferences to recognize a third category for adjuncts, visiting lecturers, postdocs, and the like, i.e., those who would like to participate in conferences but whose income and job conditions are far away from tenured or tenure-track positions.
In an email, my correspondent writes, “The oftentimes high registration fees prevents many of these scholars from participating in the research community, reinforcing the stereotype that part-time faculty and adjuncts and not skilled enough to do research, or simply not interested; and also minimizing the chances that these scholars will one day step out of the invisible niche between PhD and tenure that they inhabit.”
A website further describes the campaign and its rationale. From that site:
My proposal is to use an additional criterion for reduced fees, besides the one based on student/non-student status. I propose to use a criterion based on income and funding opportunities from institutions. If the attendee has a low-income salary, and/or unstable job (which usually equals low income), and/or is not eligible for any institutional financial support, they should qualify for an additional registration category. Without such a category, a big part of the academic world is excluded from the research community.
At the start, the campaign will involve sending emails to conference organizers when conferences are announced, inviting them to include this category among their registration and fee options.
UPDATE (5/1/15): A petition to support the campaign has been posted here.