Grade This, Motherf%#@&*!
Occupy Wall Street I—A Personal Story

Treating the University Like Just Another Corporation

ProtestorHere's what New Jersey's politicians and university presidents want to do with higher education in their state (from our union newsletter). Snide comments are entirely mine:

  • Salary freeze for all AFT [union] unit members for the next four years. (Because college professors are all earning such enormous salaries.)
  • Eliminate incremental salary increases after June 30, 2015. (And why should we got a cost of living increase just because Congress does?)
  • Eliminate tuition reimbursement for all employees. (Oh please. It's the only major perk we get.)
  • Eliminate career development for all employees. (Now, that makes so much sense! Why would you want your faculty to improve themselves?
  • Potentially eliminate or reduce the number of sabbatical leaves. (You slackers! Nobody else gets a year long paid vacation!)
  • Delete the clause requiring consistency in the quality of the benefits at no additional increase in cost to the employee.(You want something better? You pay for it, suckah.)
  • Increase the percent of faculty that management can hire on three, four and five year nonrenewable contracts from three to five percent. (Because they're so much cheaper than tenured faculty, of course.)
  • Eliminate the Union’s current right by contract to appoint one employee observer to each college/university-wide committee. (Why should you need to know what management is up to? Just trust us!)
  • Remove the Union’s right to challenge the removal of a chairperson or the appointment of an acting chairperson without a subsequent election. (Because why should department members know better than the management who should run their department?)
  • Increase the amount of money the local Union has to pay for its president’s release time.
  • Discourage librarian or professional staff from serving as Council or Local presidents.
  • Redefine the academic year as September 1 through June 30, requiring that faculty attend meetings and remain accessible to students and colleagues throughout that time period. (Because if we can't see you, you must not be working.)
  • Eliminate the requirement that the college/university President inform the Promotions Committee of the number of promotions available. (Make way for management's candidates! Stack that deck!)
  • Eliminate the obligation of the Presidents to provide the Promotion Committee reasons if there is disparity between the Committee’s recommendations and the president’s recommendations. (Father The President knows best!)
  • Reduce the amount of additional compensation provided to faculty working on external grants. (We don't care that you're bringing money into the University. Why should we pay you too when somebody else is?)
  • Eliminate the requirement for directors to hold periodic staff meetings that generally provide opportunity for professional staff input and discussion. (They're just staff. Who cares what they have to say?)
  • Compel professional staff to take vacation leave when the college/university implements a full or partial closure. (Tough luck if we have a hard winter. You'll get vacations next year.)
  • Impose a 6 month career limit on the use of Special Sick Leave. (Very humanitarian for a university.)
  • Remove clause that states a reasonable Special Sick Leave request shall not be denied.
  • Provide college/universities the right to reduce adjunct faculty pay rates during the duration of the Agreement. (Because, yanno, those adjuncts make so much already that they're obviously draining the university coffers, because they teach 60% of the classes. They should be grateful for the four jobs they're holding.)
  • Eliminate the ability for an employee to discuss potential grievances with his/her supervisor without filing a formal grievance. (There's a chilling effect for you.)
  • Eliminate the requirement that the administration send job announcements to the local before official posting. (We don't care how good you are, how loyal you've been, or how much you like it here.)
  • Rejected some of our most reasonable proposals related to reappointment rights, office space and compensation for cancellation of classes.

These demands place far too much power for the shape of the university into the hands of the (deeply paternalistic and very corporate) administration. Even more than a corporation, colleges and universities are their workers. Without us, there is no university. And the work that we do is not like middle management's or other white collar work that can just be trimmed back and streamlined. Why do we have to keep saying that it's not just hours spent in the classroom that make us professionals? If you can't afford to pay us, raises taxes on the people who benefitted from our work and made it big. Damn few of them got there without our help.

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