You have stated that your coworker doesn’t like it when you “work at work.” In all fairness, your statement isn’t exactly fair. It seems from your letter, that your coworker is quite happy when you “work at work” as long as your work activities are those that she approves of.
She doesn’t approve of your activities. She believes that you are breaking university rules and policies. She is acting like a watchdog for the well-being of the university. That would seem like a noble idea but it is not her job to do so. She is not your boss nor a paid watchdog of the university. Her job description does not include “supervising other adjunct faculty.” She is clearly engaging in behaviors that are not acceptable. The real problem is that the university administration, who is aware of her behavior, chooses to do nothing about it. They have a problem and they know it and they are just hoping that it will go away or perhaps resolve itself. Perhaps you will quit, and problem solved. Or perhaps she will quit, and problem solved. Either way the problem is solved and no administrator had to expend any effort in resolving the matter.
What she is doing to you is obviously unfair and I am here to state emphatically that her behavior is not within the bounds of normalcy. She should be aware of the fact that she is overstepping the boundaries of adjunct faculty members and the normal boundaries of social interaction. Yet she appears unaware of the inappropriate nature of her behavior. Let’s say that you are guilty of all of things that she has accused you of. How should she react to you? It is within her boundaries to “unfriend you.” It is within her boundaries to report you to the Dean or to her immediate supervisor. It is not within her bounds to take any action towards you, in the smallest of ways. She should not reprimand you or attempt to correct you. You are being supervised. You have a supervisor. It is their job to observe you and critique you and reprimand you when necessary. It is not the job of the adjacent adjunct instructor.
You have already spoken to administration about the problem with your coworker. They have chosen to do nothing. There is nothing more that you can do, unless one of the two of you chooses to buy a gun and kill the other. I would not imagine that you would be the one to buy the gun but I could easily imagine that she might. If you look at workplace shootings and trace the history that led to the shooting, often it is over an incident or a series of incidents, just as trivial as the one you are involved in.
I am in no way suggesting that you have instigated this problem but many people are in traffic accidents and may in fact die, who were not at fault in any way. They were following the speed limit, following all traffic laws, were in the middle of their lane and having done nothing at all wrong, were killed when a drunk or suicidal driver slammed into their car at 80 miles an hour. You don’t want to be an accident victim. If this problem does not improve, if your coworker’s behavior does not return to normalcy, then I would sincerely advise you to quit this particular teaching job.
I’m sorry that this problem has been brought to your doorstep through no fault of your own but it is there nonetheless. Good luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle