Thursday, March 4, 2010

Action to Defend Higher Education

It's nice to know that my former colleagues at Yale are not giving up on their important struggle to defend higher education. I just received this Solidarity Statement in honor of the March 4 National Day of Action to defend Higher Education, called for by faculty, students and academic workers in the University of California system:

Unlike most state Universities, Yale continues to prosper in the current economic recession. Yale's endowment is at $17 billion--up $5 billion from when I arrived on campus a few years ago?its $2 billion building projects are progressing, including the two new residential colleges, and it still enjoys extensive funds from the federal government and private companies. Yet over the past year, the Yale administration has decided to cut staff across the university, reduce graduate departments, and further shift the teaching to part-time adjuncts. Yale is not in an economic crisis, but its decisions--made by a handful of administrators--has serious consequences for graduate teachers, union members, and the New Haven community.
On March 4, GESO alongside its allies in the Yale unions will call on the administration to stop using the global economic crisis as justification for restructuring work at Yale in a corporate model, and instead to use its wealth and prestige to set an example for the rest of the academy and ensure good jobs for all. We are holding a panel with a diverse group of workers, faculty and students, to be followed by a march to President Levin's office to deliver the following Solidarity Statement:
Across the country, university administrators are responding to the current recession by accelerating the adoption of a corporate model, including the centralization of governance in fewer hands and casualization of secure full-time jobs. Yale has invoked the current global economic crisis to justify multiple rounds of budget cuts, staffing reductions, and restructuring of teaching and graduate education. However, Yale is in a fundamentally different economic position than its public counterparts: it has a robust endowment, an influx of federal funding, and the ability to borrow large sums inexpensively. On this national day of action to defend higher education, we therefore call on the Yale administration to use its wealth and unique position to respond to the current crisis in a way that sets a better model. It should open up its decision-making process, expand the number of good jobs on campus, ensure high-quality education by reversing the casualization of teaching staff, and invest in the surrounding community.
The economic crisis has been a dream come true for administrations of many universities who now have a perfect excuse to cut-down on tenure-track positions and advance the casualization of higher education. This process had been going on long before the crisis, but now it has become even more agressive.
I wish I could be marching together with my colleagues at Yale right now.

No comments: