I’m actually writing this post a bit earlier than when it will be posted; in fact, I’ll probably be playing golf when this gets posted. You can’t be on the picket line everday, and the union has called for a break from picketing today anyway. Is that enough of a break to restart talks? Maybe?
Anyway, I just wanted to post about three things.
First, don’t forget about being at the university house on Sunday at 1 pm. I know that will be the photo-op to beat all photo-ops of this strike so far. To me, faculty picketing around that house, the most expensive piece of property in Washtenaw county and the nexus of all that is wrong with this administration, wraps a rather pretty bow around the differences between the two sides. And I also think it lays blame where it belongs, which is on the doorstep of the guy who lives in this house, John Fallon.
But it would figure that the one rally/picket that I think should have happened a while ago and that I really wanted to see (well, before I witnessed that infamous and bizarre Tuesday night walkout by the administration) is scheduled at the EXACT same time as my son’s birthday party. Despite what some of my colleagues have said, I’m not going to miss my son’s ninth birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and go picketing instead, and I hope the reasons for that are obvious. But please, if you know you’re going to go and you are going to bring a camera, let me know. I’d really like to know what happens at this event.
Second, if you haven’t done so already, please please please write to Fallon, Valvo, and the rest of the Board of Regents. We need to urge them to get back to the table and we need to do that before this stupid-assed pissing match starts doing permanent damage to the institution. Check out this EMU-AAUP web site that lists email addresses and such of Fallon, Valvo, and other members of the board of regents. I will be happy to add the names people have sent me about my letter and forward those to the powers that be. But my sense is that the best way to get the upper administration’s attention– especially Fallon’s attention– is to send him oodles of email. I think it’s probably quanity versus quality. In fact, what I’d really like to see is Fallon get so much email about all of this that his account closes down. That might give him a clue what’s going on with ICT, too.
Third, and this might seem sort of out of place with everything else that’s happened this week, but I really like working for EMU. Seriously. I know it might not look like that with all this crazy strike/contract shit going on. But I have to tell everyone that I’ve found this a great place to be. Why? Well, because….
- I have FANTASTIC (and, no kidding around here, I cannot emphasize this enough) great students here at EMU. I’m not going to pretend that they’re all excellent/fabulous/whatever. But the ones that are good are very good, and the ones that you help, you feel like you really help. And hey, do you think the U of M students would support their faculty on a strike like this?
- I have GREAT colleagues in the Department of English Language and Literature in general and the Writing program in particular. English departments have a reputation for being mean mean places– the politics are so ugly because the stakes are so low, as they say. But for all kinds of reasons I won’t rehash now, I honestly think our department gets along better than just about any other English department in the country. Really.
- There’s a tremendous amount of flexibility here for faculty to pursue different scholarly and creative outlets. I guess what I mean is EMU’s English department is a place where faculty members can do pretty much what they want and get rewarded for it. Very cool indeed.
- Except for this contract negotiation bullshit every few years, you pretty much don’t have to deal with the upper administration of the place.
- And I like living in this area– right next to Ann Arbor, within close proximity to Detroit and its many ‘burbs, close to Chicago, etc.
So, if you do apply for one of the jobs in writing that I hope we post this year, please apply. Really. Don’t let this contract stuff scare you off too much.