Thursday, September 24, 2009

Against faculty walking out but sympathetic to student protests

I have already written extensively about why I think faculty should not walk out of classes today on this day of protests on UC campuses. Mainly this is because I think it is unfair to students for me to impose my will on their classes and that I think if faculty were to impose their will on students classes it would be a bad political move. (I note, I think the best response to this issue I have seen was an commentary in the LA Times by UC Riverside Professor Susan Straight, who is going to let her students decide what she should do with her classes today).

I am also not enthusiastic about the faculty walkout because I think that energy should be focused on changing public opinion and Sacramento opinion and not on the UC administration. That being said, I think the UC administration has not handled the budget crisis in an ideal manner. And I completely understand why many faculty, staff, students, and unions are not pleased with how things are going.

Thus, even though I do not support faculty walking out of class today, I am sympathetic to the protests and in particular to the student side of the protests. Students at UC and CSU are getting pummeled in many ways - from higher fees, to bigger classes to less access to education. They deserve our respect today and through all of these rough times ...


  1. Is there a chance that after this academic year, "the state" sees that they were able to get a full teaching schedule despite pay cuts and chooses to make them permanent?

    I'm asking out of genuine curiosity, I don't have a horse in the race :p

  2. Unquestionably that is possible and it is why many faculty are supporting the walkout. My feeling is that the walkout will increase, not decrease the probability of getting reduced funds in the long run. But politics is hard to predict. My concern here is - that since it is hard to predict - I want to have actions that try to minimize the further negative effects on students. So maybe faculty could picket Sacramento or stage a sit in there or boycott admin functions. But skipping class to me should be a last, not first, resort.

  3. I support the walkout. There is a reason that the prisons take up so much of California's budget. It is because the prison guards are so strongly unionized. If you aren't willing to stand up for yourself, they'll just take your salary and give it to the prison guards.

  4. How'd yesterday turn out?

  5. I was in over my head yesterday preparing for class today so did not get to check out all that was going on on campus. I did an interview in the AM on the local NPR station that I think went OK. For my part, I basically said "I do not think facutly walking out is the right thing but I do think that students, staff and faculty are right in being upset. I just wish they directed their energy more towards Sacramento, not UC Admin"

    I did go to the campus rally for a bit - students were speaking to the crowd. There was quite a crowd and they were passionate but respectful (at least what I saw). It seemed that life went on in a relatively normal manner on the science side of campus but I did not spend much time in the more humanities heavy areas. Humanities faculty were more involved in the walkout.


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