Letter to the Editor: Do staff, faculty and students need to unite?
April 19, 2017
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Global capitalism has decided that faculty and students are expendable. For a while, professors were immune to this since most had tenure. Today, adjunct faculty are out numbering tenured professors. Their voices are undermined as the university system moves toward corporatization. The undermining of the once strong faculty union is part of the ruling class assault on the traditional rights of academics to pursue avenues of exploration outside of the corporate state and the military-industrial complex. At this point, privileges once thought to be sacrosanct are now in question.
There needs to be solidarity between students, faculty and classified staff on our campuses. Times are challenging and when powerful people attack education, we must come together.
Faculty is facing challenges like loss of tenure, lack of meaningful democratic participation, and now a shortened school semester that makes teaching that much more onerous.
Students are facing the shortening semester as well, who will soon have to cram 18 weeks of material in 16. All of this is done in an attempt to make our nation’s community colleges conform to some elitist dream of being just like “prestigious” campuses that often themselves sacrifice meaningful instruction on the altar of sacrosanct academic traditions.
Students are also experiencing increasing fees and the lack of any say in the matter. There is less educational content and more money charged to students. You are not seeing a dime of that money. Instead you are being overworked and under-respected.
Classified staff are often the silent voices, or more to the point, the silenced voices. They must be made full partners in the struggle for education and democratic voice on our college campuses.
Universities are feared because they are often places of radical dissent. The fear of radical dissent has led to a corporatization of education. Faculty should leave there academic high places and join forces with students and classified staff. We need an organization that joins faculty, students and classified staff as a form of parallel governance structure on our campuses.
With this structure, we can challenge fee hikes, the shortened semester that will only exclude valuable educational content and put students at a disadvantage when transferring, as well the attacks on labour that classified staff experience.
The alternatives are grim. This is not about luxuries or vague promises. This is about the survival of our campus in an age of privatization. The possibility of privatization is very real. As students, faculty and grounds people we have to be together.