Posts by Marc Bousquet
November 16, 2009, 05:08 PM ET
Does your idea of public higher education include values like fairness and diversity? Yeah, me too. Ditto for the several hundred grad students drumming in the rain in Illinois today, after their union struck to defend tuition waivers. Get updates and join their 2,500 fans on the GEO Facebook page.
Charging tuition to working graduate students is essentially a pay-to-work scheme that would represent an educational death sentence for many grad students, as Robert Naiman at Huffpost puts it.
Noting that the administration's refusal to bargain tuition security would fall most heavily on "out-of-state, minority, and foriegn graduate students," AAUP president Cary Nelson walked the line with GEO this morning.
"The diversity that is the lifeblood of the campus is at stake," he said.
California Students Demand: "Let us Study!"...Read More
November 10, 2009, 03:15 PM ET
Everywhere you look, students and faculty are hitting the streets -- digital music in their ears, cell phone cameras in hand, uploading their manifestos from occupied dean's offices. It turns out civil disobedience doesn't have to be boring.
The membership of the grad student union at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign just overwhelmingly authorized their leadership to call a strike at will -- winning the support of legislators, the undergraduate student senate, and the faculty in a savvy media barrage couched in a series of rallies, including one slotted for Nov. 12 on the site of the next trustees' meeting. This is the same union with a long history of creative disruption in response to intransigent administrations, ultimately forcing the administration to bargain with them by an imaginative well-planned occupation of the administration ...Read More
November 5, 2009, 11:59 AM ET
The 2000 students sitting in at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts ignited occupations at a handful of neighboring buildings and campuses, then leapt across Austria and into Germany (where already last summer a quarter-million students, faculty, teachers, and parents struck to fight various sleazy American-model* initiatives being pushed by the aptly-named "Bologna Process").
Californians are mad as hell too. Over 600 militants from every sector of California public education -- K-12, CSU, UC, the community colleges -- met last week to plan a rolling series of actions in a statewide mobilization.
The first statewide event is a planned massive, open-ended and systemwide UC strike beginning November 18, the day that California regents vote on a 30-percent increase in tuition and faculty/staff furloughs. The planners vow to stay out if the regents vote ...Read More
November 2, 2009, 10:12 PM ET
This is the text of an email blast sent out by AAUP to 370,000 faculty, announcing the release of a draft report on conversion to tenure, co-authored by me, and featuring several examples of different ways that different institutions have moved to stabilize their faculty. We've already received over 150 comments, most positive and most thoughtful: direct yours to Gwendolyn Bradley. We anticipate issuing a final report early this spring. Hint: don't miss the special section on the AAUP website.
The last four decades have seen a failure of the social contract in faculty employment.
With more than two-thirds of faculty working outside the tenure stream or for wages that would embarrass Wal-Mart, the once-reliable regime of professional peer scrutiny in hiring, evaluation, and promotion has all but collapsed.
The Profession Agrees
In opposition to this...
October 27, 2009, 01:40 PM ET
Is your administration using "the economy" as an excuse to extort more work for less pay from an already overburdened faculty?
Buying Howard Bunsis a plane ticket to your campus might be the best investment you can make right now.
Bunsis, a Michigan professor of accounting and treasurer of the AAUP, has been tracking administrator claims of fiscal crisis for several months. His conclusion, published in this issue of The Chronicle, is that at many campuses, there's no financial crisis at all. At many schools, tuition and other revenue is up, or existing reserves could easily cushion the shortfall.
Furthermore, Bunsis observes after detailed analysis of university financial data, where cuts have to be made, they don't need to be made to the core education function -- they can be made in athletics, construction, services, and other...Read More
October 23, 2009, 02:28 PM ET
In response to the massive re-orientation of education toward job training, privatization and the standardization of curricular outcomes mandated by the Bologna Process, students across Europe have been turning out by the thousands. This past June, as many as 250,000 students, parents, schoolteachers, college faculty and staff coordinated a week-long education strike in 90 cities across Germany.
If the topic of occupying campus space interests you, be sure to check out the Academia Insurgent panel being organized by Eli Meyerhoff (University of Minnesota) and the countercartographies collective at UNC-Chapel Hill for the Annual Association of American Geographers Meeting Washington, DC, 14-18...Read More
October 20, 2009, 01:10 PM ET
With a 150-person sit-in at Berkeley and members of the two UCSC occupations beginning a southern tour of talks at several campuses near Los Angeles this week, the movement appears to be gathering steam. In the next 24 hours, occupiers will explain their strategy for movement building -- "demand nothing, occupy everything" at UCLA, Irvine, and Cal State Fullerton.
The administration appears to be helping to set the stage for escalation by, according to witnesses and victim testimony on the movement blog, macing students without warning and heavy-handed efforts at police infiltration and espionage.
I interviewed a graduate student with knowledge of the events surrounding the second occupation at UC Santa Cruz last Thursday and Friday:
Q. I understand the group occupied a particular administrator's office. Can you tell me how that decision came...Read More
October 16, 2009, 06:06 PM ET
Late Thursday, just two weeks after peacefully concluding their occupation of the graduate student commons, members of the UCSC-based group Occupy California! barricaded themselves into a dean's office in the Humanites and Social Science building.
According to the statement they issued shortly afterward, they targeted the office of Dean Sheldon Kamienicki in connection with decisions regarding job losses and cuts to program funding
By contrast to the restraint showed in the earlier event, witnesses said that campus police promptly moved in, and cuffed and hauled away at least some of the protesters.
Neither email nor the press contact phones were answered on Friday afternoon.Read More
October 5, 2009, 08:54 PM ET
In lower Manhattan, students demonstrate in solidarity with protesters at UC Santa Cruz.
The Occupy California group peacefully ended their weeklong occupation of a UCSC facility last Thursday, but announced that they left "in order to escalate" their confrontation with the state and campus authorities.
During the event, messages of solidarity poured in from Britain, South Africa, and Croatia, from campus bus drivers and the SDS, from San Francisco State, from Irvine, from Brandeis, Columbia, and the City University of New York.
California's statewide Defend our Education coalition of K-12 educators, staff and faculty from the UC and Cal State system passed a formal unanimous resolution of support, as did numerous student groups across the U.S.Read More
October 5, 2009, 03:37 PM ET
Community colleges are finally on the radar, but what is it like to work there? Catch David Ayers discussing academic freedom, managerialism, and student experiences in those institutions.
The interview with Ayers is part of a new video series, Voices of the AAUP, featuring many faculty serving contingently, for instance Jeanette Jeneault, Jonathan Karpf and Marcia Newfield. You can also catch the sonic stylings of the Ad-hoc Post-Tenure UnderAppreciated Band.
There's also a brief interview with me, in which I respond to questions about faculty democracy and work-life balance.Read More