Okay, first a small preamble: thanks again to the kind words and thoughts from people who have been reading and posting here, and also telling me either in person or in email that they’ve appreciated what I’ve written. As of now, which as I type this phrase means 11:20 PM on Tuesday, I’ve had 218 page “visits” (which is defined, as I understand it, as someone spending some time and looking at a number of different entries on my site) and 486 page “views” (which is basically someone clicking to the site, probably from a search engine, and then leaving relatively quickly). It’s funny how these things work; for me, the strike is as much a “media event” as it is anything else, which I suppose is perfectly appropriate given my scholarship and writing.
Second, I also want to direct readers’ attentions to Paul Leighton’s Blog, “PaulsJusticeBlog.” Normally, Paul writes/thinks about issues of crime and criminology and stuff like that– from a lefty point of view– but he has been thinking/writing a lot about the strike lately, especially since he’s on the EMU-AAUP Executive Committee right now and hip-deep in the negotiations. So he’s POV is obviously pretty biased, but it’s also pretty informed. He talks a lot on his blog about the nitty-gritty of negotiations. Very useful.
Okay: So, here’s what happened tonight:
I created a podcast/audio file that pretty much captures the night experiences for me (I’ll explain the difference between audio files and podcasts later, or you can read my article in Computers and Composition Online about teaching online classes with blogs. But I digress…). It’s about 9:30 minutes long, it’s an MP3 file, and it’s about 10.9 MB, and it’s linked right here. Just click on the link, and your browser should just play it. Actually, I think it turned out pretty well because I was able to capture some good audio with just my iPod and a microphone attached to it, including the faculty chanting at the adminstration’s team and Howard talking to folks after they left. And, if I do say so myself, I think this file really captures the moment better than these words here. Trust me, it’s worth the download.
But in case you don’t want to/can’t listen to that file, here’s what I thought happened, more or less:
- By the time I showed up at EMU around Boone Hall at about 9:30 or so, there was already about 100-150 faculty members hanging about with signs and the like– you know, the typical picket/protest.
- A lot of my colleagues from the English department were there, which I guess proves that people in English studies are “night people.”
- I actually thought there was a lot of “drama” out there tonight, but not a lot happened when you just boil it down to words– which again is why I hope folks take the time to listen to my podcast/audio file. But what it boiled down to for me is this: 10:00 PM hit and the administration walked away from the table. Simple as that. So one of my faculty colleagues who has remained nameless so far: it looks to me like you’re going to be picketing after all, right? : )
- I guess the administration had to walk out after this boneheaded threat. But at the same time, I guess I sort of assumed that they would keep talking if we were close to a deal, and, if it is indeed true that the administration was offering us 3% over 5 years, then we probably really were close to a deal. The whole thing seems so SO stupid to me. But it is so clear to me that if there was anyone out there who thought that the faculty were the ones at fault here, that feeling pretty much left as the administrators made their “perp walk” from Boone to Welch. It seems to me that the administration has set themselves up to look pretty freakin’ bad and give the faculty a reason to hold out as long as they possibly can now.
- And once again, thanks so much to the students who were out in support of the faculty cause. The new guy who is president of student council/senate was out there and told us that students are making signs that say “Student Support Faculty” (or something like that) and plan to be greeting John Fallon at his coffee and doughnuts sessions first thing tomorrow morning.
- Oh, and channel 4 had a decent enough coverage on the scene, and they tied it to the Detroit teachers walking out and closing down the public schools. I saw the report on the 11pm news, but I can’t find any links on their web site on it.
So, as I always say, we’ll see. I am TOTALLY convinced that if the administration were to come back to the table, we’d have a deal in a matter of a few hours. The real kicker is going to be is if the administration is willing to come back to the table that quickly. Given the “I’ll turn this car around” mode of threats, I’m predicting court action. And I am also predicting that this goes badly for the administration, quite frankly.