Archive for the ‘Business As Usual’ Category

A students description of ‘Business as Usual.’

SIUC Students communicate their thoughts out side the window of President Glenn Poshard meeting with the Board of Trustees.

From our inbox this morning:

I find it most imperative to warn those who inhabit the Communications Building: as best as I can infer, Room 1018 seems to be equipped with some sort of invisible projectile weapon that vaporizes any and all *ahem* qualified instructors who attempt to cross its threshold.

Granted, my field of expertise lies in realms apart from invisible projectile weapons. But I can reach no other conclusion on the matter because I’ve been attending classes in 1018 since the strike began on Thursday (three classes in 1018, totaling five hours of classroom time), and despite repeated public assurance from our benevolent administrative overlords in Anthony Hall, “business as usual” seems to entail a lot of sitting in an empty classroom, realizing no one is coming, and wandering in a despondent and/or angry fashion.

For all you readers out there who find the administration’s promised business-as-usual model so tasty that you need a spoon to gobble up every drop, please read on for a thrilling chronicle of an absolutely true week in the challenging life of a SIU doctoral student:

Thursday (Strike Day 1)
Show up for class. Wait 10-15 minutes. Call Dean’s office to complain. Wait another 10-15 minutes. Behold not a qualified instructor but a “qualified attendance taker,” who takes attendance (checking names off list without visually scanning for said names) and dismisses you after brief but fiery interrogation from angry students. S/he promises you will have an instructor on Tuesday. Promise.

Friday (Day 2) — Bonus!
Arrive in Comm. Room 2012. Sit for 10-15 minutes waiting for instructor. Leave when one does not arrive. OPTIONAL: complete state-mandated ethics training required of all SIU employees. Computer and wi-fi required. Rita Cheng and Rod Blagojevich applaud your commitment to ethics.

Tuesday (Day 4)
Show up for afternoon class. Worry that obligatory sarcastic remark to classmates about being today’s qualified instructor might set off vaporizer. Wait 10-15 minutes. Glance out door to see Thursday’s qualified attendance taker pass room without stopping to say hello. You were probably too hard on him on Thursday.

(Three hours before night class. Do you have all your reading done? Don’t miss this chance to impress your new, absolutely befleshed, qualified instructor! You’re graduating soon, and you’ll need that letter of recommendation!)

Night class: arrive to find the room dark and a man with a clipboard (alas, he is not your instructor) and a (totally awesome — no sarcasm this time) custodial worker who is moving the desks to clean the floor. Two minutes into your 150-minute graduate seminar. S/he informs you there will be no class.

Go home, pondering the lost hours/effort/gas you spent coming to class because administration threatened your livelihood. Remind yourself to brush up on Foucault’s panopticon discussion in Discipline and Punish — this was probably all avoidable.

Anyway, I’m working on dismantling the invisible projectile weapon in 1018. The fact that there seems to be an utter dearth of our promised qualified replacement instructors on campus can only mean these nefarious weapons are all over campus.

Please contact administration early and often in the coming days and demand a fair deal for the faculty. They probably have the keys to turn these things off.

In the meantime, if a replacement instructor somehow gets into your classroom and tries to teach you something, this probably means s/he is not qualified to teach your class. It is not inappropriate to demand their qualifications and to complain to the administration immediately if said qualifications are unsatisfactory.

In solidarity,
Anonymous sarcastic smartass, doctoral student, Communication Studies

Board of Trustees 618-536-3357
Chancellor Cheng 618-453-2341
President Poshard 618-536-3331

Hello:

I’m a GA in the English department. I wrote a letter to the DE last week about how GA’s are the faces of education freshman and sophomores see their first two years on campus. When I’ve asked my students this week about the disruption to their classes, only about 6 in 41 have been taught by substitutes (or at least volunteered information about it). This reiterates my point – most of them are taught by GA’s who are in their classes and teaching during the strike.

2 of my own 3 classes may have been manned by substitutes, but because there is absolutely no way the substitutes are qualified to replace my professors in any way, I have not attended class. I am not even going to participate in that charade. I would rather be on the picket line supporting my professors and the future credibility of my degrees. This will be the third degree I’ve received from SIU and I don’t want any of them to have an asterisks by them.*

*As with baseball players who may have broken records but who may have used steroids; I don’t want my degrees to need asterisks to indicate which were earned when SIU was a quality institution and which were earned when it wasn’t.

XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX, English and Communication Instructor

Student picketers hold a sign that says: "We skipped out for our teachers."

Students at the rally today show their solidarity with faculty.

The class I TA for this morning had 0% attendance. When students saw the “qualified substitute” they left. “Business as usual.”

- statement from Derek Smith, grad student in MCMA

From an ACsE member who picketed in support of the FA outside Anthony Hall on her break:

“We also had several students stop by and ask sincerely interested questions about what was going on. The general attitude of those students ranged from confusion to annoyance at the non-information contained in the Chancellor’s emails to outright anger at the insulting and condescending tone, and even threatening tone, of some of them. They did NOT appreciate the implication that the school will be imposing some sort of attendance policy midway through the semester that their professors didn’t use from the beginning. One mortuary science student who had come here from Washington State b/c we have a good program in his field was furious b/c he went in to Anthony to tell Cheng how frustrated he was at not having his labs & classes, and the person he spoke to told him he shouldn’t worry about it b/c as long as he continues to go to class, he’ll get his “points.” He said, “I don’t want ‘points’! I want to LEARN! Employers aren’t going to care about points and attendance if I don’t know what I need to know to do the job!””

An open letter to top administrators, snipped from Deo Volente:

Several students have sent me descriptions of that class, and I quote one of them:

“Yesterday (Thursday), the first day of the strike, was very awkward. The Math 150 class was staffed by the Assistant Dean of the College of Science, [name deleted by D.B.]. She is an economist who has a background in Calculus. Yesterday’s class lasted only 20 minutes with her giving us a brief lecture of the fundamentals behind integration. She then got uncomfortable to the point where she was literally copying the book. She also took attendance, by the way. As I said, she stopped after 20 minutes, assigned no homework and dismissed the class.

Today (Friday), was basically a repeat of yesterday. The class lasted 10 minutes and we pretty much reviewed what we went over yesterday!”

Read the full letter.