Posts Tagged ‘rita cheng’

Kristi Brownfield of GA United read a powerful statement in defense of free speech at SIUC at this morning’s open forum with the Board of Trustees. It concludes:

This administration seems more interested in power than people. Any policies that protect the established power of the status quo over the expressive power of a free people are policies that must be overturned. The students here recognize that. It was our voices inside the Student Center, outside of Anthony Hall and the Stone Center, throughout campus, on Facebook, and online — calling for accountability, fairness, and transparency. That is what we want from this university. That is not what we have been getting. We expect better and in the future we hope to work with the administration to ensure we get that better. Together we can heal this damage to create a better SIUC for today and tomorrow.

Read the full statement at GA United’s blog.

A fuller analysis will probably have to wait until morning, but to tide you over here are some stories from the local media:

KFVS 12
WSIL 3 (includes full text from Chancellor Rita Cheng to SIUC students and staff)
WPSD 6
The Southern Illinoisan
Daily Egyptian

meanwhile in little egypt, part 3

Posted today on Socialistworker.org:

The key issues in the strike flow from SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng and SIU President Glen Poshard’s attempts to impose a “corporate education” model on the school. As one student and Navy veteran asked in an open letter, “Is SIUC just after my government benefits after all? Like [the for-profit] University of Phoenix?”

“What is at stake here,” said striking professor Jyostna Kapur, “is the education of working class and middle class students. The administration wants to cheat our students of a good education by trying to make us work for more and more with less and less at a time when working class and middle class students are going into debt for this education.”

Read the full article.

The most recent petition signature reads:

“It is becoming increasingly apparent that something is terribly wrong with the Administrative structure as SIUC and this strike is actually a symptom of a larger problem. As a student I am signing right now to not only support my faculty, but to say ENOUGH! I believe that greed and corruption are at the center of this struggle. It is not the greed of the Faculty however, it is the greed for money and power at the top. I am asking that Glenn Poshard and Rita Cheng resign from this institution, so that we can restore dignity and integrity to this university.”- Mickey Johnson

Have you asked your friends to sign the petition today?

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savetenureatsiucarbondale/

A Choice at the Crossroads: Impacts on the Whole Community

As bargaining between the faculty and administration continues, agreement on the remaining issues is as simple as the Chancellor and Board of Trustees choosing equal protection of all the unions over continuing to single the Faculty Association out in punitive ways that undermine the mission of the university, taxpayer interests, and the local economy.

To put these choices in perspective, let’s begin with the choice the administration made, more than a year ago now, to refuse interest-based bargaining. The Cornell University Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) School explains that "Interest-based bargaining frames negotiation as joint problem solving to resolve each party’s underlying issues, needs, and concerns. The process works by encouraging the parties to focus on interests, not positions, and to use communication and innovative thinking to identify superior solutions." A report issued jointly by the Cornell ILR school and the NEA demonstrates that these efforts to identify common ground early in a negotiation aren’t pie-in-the-sky fantasies for cushy times, but instead developed in the 1990’s, a period of time that saw "change in collective bargaining in education, including the introduction of voucher programs and charter schools, change in state collective bargaining laws, rising tuition and operational costs, and growing concern from communities that institutional actors in education were not representing their interests". [ See page 5 of this report. ]

Interest-based bargaining is good for local communities. Especially in rough times like these, it can

  • Enhance the image of public sector collective bargaining in the community as a process capable of representing and advancing the interests of all its stakeholders;
  • Provide a venue for creating more professional teaching conditions and respond to the need for reform;
  • Reduce the escalation of disputes and the associated costs. [ See page 5 of this report. ]
  • That last point, about reducing "the escalation of disputes and the associated costs" feels particularly relevant as we consider the last few days and the Board’s proposals. If the Board forces the right to furlough, to do so untransparently, and/or a back-to-work agreement that blocks restoration of wages withheld during the strike, it may succeed in punishing the faculty, but it will also be punishing the local economy. Chancellor Cheng may attempt to place all of the blame on striking workers for these local economic hits. But members of the community and local business owners should consider:

    1. That Chancellor Cheng and the Board of Trustees chose to refuse Interest-Based Bargaining from the beginning—a kind of bargaining already proven successful at SIU.

    2. That the Faculty Association waited more than a year without a contract to take this unprecedented action while the administration chose to bargain only intermittently.

    3. That the Chancellor and Board have already chosen to extend furlough protection and Fair Share to other unions; they could now choose to treat faculty with the same respect and end this strike now!

    And most importantly:
    4. That if they choose not to restore withheld wages they will be going against typical practice in labor disputes, and doing so with a punitive intention.

    If there is a hit to the local economy from the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in the region, taxpayers and local business people need to think about those four choices made by Chancellor Cheng and the Board of Trustees.

    SIU is a state school. When the Faculty Association asks for transparency and accountability in making furlough decisions, to be sure, we have a personal stake in that decision; but so do our neighbors. Every taxpayer has a right to know that decisions are being made wisely and fairly, not in a way that will waste resources on costly litigation and put a drain on community prosperity. All of us depend upon a vibrant SIU and local economy, as the Chancellor herself recognized in a recent report. Lost strike wages and the threat of future furloughs will surely have an impact on the faculty’s ability to contribute to the local economy heading into the holiday season upon which so many local businesses depend and have already begun to worry about.

    The mission statement of SIU maintains that the university’s "programs of public service and its involvement in the civic and social development of the region are manifestations of a general commitment to enhance the quality of life through the exercise of academic skills and application of problem-solving techniques. SIUC seeks to help solve social, economic, educational, scientific, and technological problems, and thereby to improve the well-being of those whose lives come into contact with it." Members of the faculty association proudly contribute to that mission.

    The question remains, though: Will Chancellor Cheng and the Board reflect on their decision to forgo this aspect of our great university’s mission by refusing the opportunity to learn and exercise the "problem-solving techniques" that the training for Interest-Based Bargaining would have taught them?

    Will they single-out the Faculty Association in comparison to the other unions, to whom they did choose to offer last minute contracts with the furlough protections and fair-share agreements that are holding up settlement of this strike?

    Will they end this strike with a fair back-to-work agreement in keeping with common practice, or will they hold out for provisions that punish everyone in the community economically?

    Or will they recognize that this is an opportunity to be fair, to help SIU heal, and to draw upon rather than punish the outpouring of faculty energy and student support that have characterized this strike action?

    Ask them which way they will turn at this crossroad:

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

    You can also sign a petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savetenureatsiucarbondale/

    And a note: thanks to all of those local businesses supporting our picketers and students on the strike lines! You’ve helped us stay warm, quenched our thirst, and fed us when we’ve been hungry. We share stories about your generosity and good will, and look forward to returning that support with purchasing decisions.

    Fresh from The Southern Illinoisan:

    Sievers also dismissed rumors and reports of vandalism that occurred on campus against people who have continued to work during the strike.

    “There have been some incidents of minor stuff, but nothing has risen to the level of formal reports being field,” he said.

    The number of reports has been fewer than half a dozen, Sievers said, adding police can’t even definitely connect them to the strike.

    Sievers couldn’t specify what the nature of the incidents have been but said they are very low on campus security’s priority list.

    Read more: http://thesouthern.com/news/local/education/article_8ab16492-0af8-11e1-95db-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1dERrxDIq

    Thanks to the QueerillaCollective for making this video that addresses current issues happening at SIUC.

    CALL THE ADMINISTRATION:
    Board of Trustees 618-536-3357
    Chancellor Cheng 618-453-2341
    President Poshard 618-536-3331

    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

    [Edit: Here is the interview referenced below ]

    We just received this email:

    Moments ago, I just heard Chancellor Rita Cheng on WSIU radio. I have two things I would like to request you post to your blog.

    #1
    Chancellor Cheng claimed that the only posts that were deleted from the SIU Facebook page were ones containing vulgar language. She then went on to say that at 3am, the one staff member who was monitoring the site had the page locked down, to prevent further inflammitory comments. She did not mention the many comments that were not vulgar, but simply asked the administration to settle, yet were deleted. Even now days later, SIUC is not being honest about what happened. Could you ask your blog readers to call Chancellor Cheng for clarification?

    #2
    Chancellor Cheng also mentioned that some students have started a petition stating they now prefer their faculty replacement. Could you ask your blog readers to call Chancellor Cheng to make this petition available to the public. How many students have signed it? In the interest of transparency, let us see it.

    If you do wish to call the administration:
    Chancellor Rita Cheng 618-453-2341
    SIUC Board of Trustees 618-536-3357
    President Glen Poshard 618-536-3357