An SIUC faculty blog, brought back to life by the Illinois funding crisis.
I don't agree with them theme of this cartoon. Civility allows for clarity of discussion. The uncivil comments from FA supports here have probably pushed more 'middle of the road' faculty away from the FA than the FSN has. I am not excusing or minimizing rude comments from FSN supporters. I haven't been keeping score. It is just that I am trying to get people to join the FA and rude comments from FA supporters aren't helping me. And don't tell me is OK because Swift did it. He was fighting the powers that be, not the guy down the hallway. Sarcasm is fine, but let's lay off the personal attacks. One can make sharp criticisms without being rude.
Mike, We are fighting "the powers that be" and their supporters. Anybody who complies with the undermining of tenure and the professional safeguards set up by the AAUP as well as ignoring the threat to intellectual freedom is the "enemy." This cartoon is very much to the point and you only have to read your Henry James and Edith Wharton to know that "civility" is often used as a weapon as a tactic of denial that these people are using.
7:04 PM,Every faculty member is a potential union member and hence potential ally. Why was I the only FA member willing to go to the FSN cook out, soggy though it was, and talk to them? Sometimes you can out manurer an opponent with a kind word. Civility itself can be a tactic. If your tactic is hurting your cause then change it, don't justify it with name dropping. Can you give an example of "these people" using calls for civility "as a weapon as a tactic of denial"?Examples of rudeness that concern me include calling the pro Cheng faculty "corporate lackeys" or "stooges". What is gained from that? Why not just point out why they are wrong to support Cheng's positions? (And not all anti-union faculty are pro Cheng.) I find Cheng's top-down leadership style highly offensive, but we will win people over by calling her a "dictator"? We just look foolish. And can you really defend someone saying the FSN were serving "HUMBergers"?
The attitude conveyed in the cartoon is exactly what I am disgusted at. You can disagree without being disagreeable. Seriously, people, did some of you ever learn how to play nice in a sandbox?Robust discussion of the issues, even civil disagreement, yes. Calling people who don't agree with you 95% of the time but perhaps 75% "scabs" and "the enemy" is just horrible.And before we start again on the "solidarity" theme, in 11 days time, if there is no settlement, I will join my colleagues and walk out on strike. But I will not hurl insults at people who, from personal conscience, choose differently than I.
Let's look at a borderline example. Jonny called the FSN a "gaggle of soggy picnickers." Is that a demeaning put down or semi-friendly teasing? Teasing can actually be an ice breaker - if it is taken a such.
Mike, I didn't take umbrage at that. i took umbrage rather, at 1) the blanket statement on the cartoon itself and one of the anonymous comments that you, too, called out as inappropriate.
Mike:I already have a previous obligation on Tuesday evenings, but even if I didn't, I wouldn't have wanted to shiver in the cold and rain at the picnic. Aside from the physical discomfort, I had other problems with going there.The FSN started with a message that said that we have a problem and then blaming a group that I belong to for it. As much as I agree with their description of the problem, it's hard for me to be civil with a start like that. They seem to have already made their minds up about the cause of the problem and started actions to remove what they believe to be the cause. They are a few steps ahead of where I would even want to begin the conversation, which is examining ALL of the causes. By association, they are pointing a finger at me. Mike Eichholz (I'm finally spelling it correctly with two h's. Sorry for the previous misspellings.) invited people to engage him in civil email, only to later say that he received hate mail and that it was making his life miserable. Why would I want to try to have a civil debate with him at the picnic, if he was only going to later accuse me trying to ruin the fun his picnic?Speaking of teasing, I don't think you want to out manurer an opponent, unless you and your opponent are both bullshitting. :)
Jonny-I love this cartoon! Thanks for posting!
paranoid: Damn spell checkers! ;-)
As a second-year faculty member, I'm fast thinking "I need to get out of here." Taught at two other colleges but SIUC takes the cake. Those two schools were not "Research U" but enrollment was rising, morale was good (despite the economy) and if there was a "toxic" dump on campus, it wasn't the faculty spitting poison at each other like hissing snakes. One school had a union, the other didn't. But the union formed a LONG time ago and they weren't fighting some long lost civil war as people seem to be doing here with the "Night they Drove the SIU Faculty Down" (1973?). . . People thought I was lucky to get a research post but I'd take bright undergrads and a faculty and administration body not in need of medication any day.
Mike, By going to that picnic you gave those people credibility. Since their group is designed to undermine bargaining by all four unions, they are by definition "the enemy" and if they cross the picket line should a strike occur they will be in the position of scabs. As for the second year faculty member, the sooner you leave the better. If you are not prepared to stand up for your rights and academic freedom then you do not belong in a university. Your comments in paragraph two are really insulting since many people were hurt by the incident of 1973 and we lost several potential scholars as a result. 1973 foreshadows what is happening now so basically if you can't stand up for your rights as well as those of others by all means - leave!
Anonymous 10:33: As a fifth-year faculty member, I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. People thought, and still think, I am lucky to get a 2-2 teaching load R1 job right out of grad school. But the tension on this campus, and the rank bitterness among many faculty is just too much sometimes. What, really, do you have to be bitter about?Right now, I should be celebrating the fact that my book got published only a few weeks ago. I was planning on diving right into my next book project with an exploratory article, which I should be writing right now. Instead, I am losing sleep over this threatened strike; and finding out things about this place that eluded me when I first arrived here four years ago. I accept Jonanthan Gray's point about the dangers of thinking the grass is greener at another university. I love my colleagues, I love my students, I love the fact that I can teach whatever I wish, and I love the fact that I have time to do my own research. So, again, what do we have to be bitter about? I have plenty of colleagues from grad school who have yet to find tenure-track jobs (and I have had my PhD now for 5 years); I have others that have found TT jobs, but only after being on the market for 2-3-4 years, and those TT jobs have much higher teaching loads and come with less pay than here. I am not bitter at SIUC. I think there are some things that ought to be changed, but the bitterness and the venom that you and I (and others) have been witnessing needs to stop; otherwise it will succeed in destroying this place. You can blame administrators all you want; in the end of the day, as my parents used to tell me, you can only control how you respond.
Some comments on this favorite theme, though doing so risks dipping back into my blogger Dave persona.1. Civility will always be a higher priority for those with more power than those with less power, who need to make full use of all the power that speech can provide, which will include hard hitting speech.2. Genre matters. Things acceptable in a cartoon or a sign at a rally aren't acceptable in the faculty senate, or in a presentation by the Chancellor or an august spokesman for the faculty association. 3. Anonymous blog comments are a genre that, for better or for worse (mainly though not entirely the worse), bring out the venom. That's why we've encouraged signed comments. Most of the venom is unsigned. But we'd lose many good comments if we required real names. Part of the price we pay for an open debate here, then, is venom; it's part of the genre, I think.
While I agree with your point about people holding more power wishing to shut down discourse, that still does not excuse incivility on this website, either toward administrators or toward fellow faculty or members of the SIUC community. Indeed, by continuing to engage in incivility, individuals who do so play right into the hands of those from FSN who are attempting, naive as I think it is right now, to decertify the FA. A calmer discourse, thus, would be in everyone's best interest right now.
While I want to see this resolved, and would rather not see a strike, I can't exactly blame people for feeling uncivil when, quite frankly, they're cornered and threatened. Then, we have the calls for "civility" when the cornered people speak up. The administration are the ones who can provide leadership. Yet, they don't do so, they seem most interested not in growing SIUC's reputation, research rankings, or student body, but their own numbers and pay. These people then call the FA "uncivil" when, quite frankly, SIUC would be the same without a good 20% of them. The top levels of management back growing the administration! Cheng, Nicklow, and Poshard all hire more managerial people to bloat rather than doing what is needed, which is to clean house.
I rather thought this cartoon would spark a conversation, and I find that conversation useful. This issue goes to the heart of something we are better off discussing than ignoring. So...let's discuss.First of all, I believe the cartoon deliberately uses the word "sometimes." Certainly, some uses of coarse language and character criticism are inappropriate in some contexts. But sometimes they are not. The cartoon suggests that warning someone they are on fire might not always be done with attention to decorum. It's a metaphor, but an apt one. Mike, you ask for examples of the silencing use of civility. I haven't been keeping score either, but a I hope a few representative examples will at least further the discussion. I think when the cartoon two weeks ago was accused by some of being a personal attack on Susan Logue, that is a good example. Comments about the cartoon certainly did that (and one was removed for it), but the cartoon itself did not. Even if the character in question looked a little like Ms. Logue, there was nothing to that depiction that was a personal insult. Rather, the cartoon was an argument about demonstrable differences between the unions' and the Administration's understanding of "negotiate" -- a point, by the way, that was never challenged! Likewise, three comments in on Friday's post someone already accuses the blog of ad hominem attacks because someone questions (in a thread about the chronic problem of administrative bloat) the Chancellor's husband's uncertain administrative duties. Questioning someone's qualifications for the job they have been assigned and how they were assigned it is not an ad hominem attack. More troubling, one of our more frequent commentators opined a few days ago here that unnamed members of the negotiation team be replaced with "calmer heads," based on little more than standard bargaining practices (absent an interest based bargaining model, that is) and a legal turn of phrase. No specific procedural call for such a leadership change has been made (nor, based on the standing ovation 95% of the DRC gave the negotiation team last Thursday, would it likely pass). The continued insinuations here and elsewhere that the FA leadership are only "hot headed," selfish, greedy, naive, myopic, etc. are all sweeping generalizations that brush aside significant and well documented concerns. When a legalistic phrase no doubt counseled by a lawyer for inclusion in an official supposal is evidence of incivility and results in a call for leadership change, then the inappropriate charge of incivility is, indeed, being used to attempt to silence.What troubles me about the zero-sum call for civility is that it is often accompanied by a pathologizing of anger -- as if the anger felt and expressed (more vocally by some) is a mental disorder or a weakness of character. A few comments above this one, a "supporter" of the union asks what we really have to bitter about. If after the considerable evidence of administrative malfeasance reported here and elsewhere and after 481 days without a contract you don't understand why folks are justifiably angry and bitter, you may be the one with a mental disorder.(cont.)
(cont.)Mike, you mobilize the old adage that we attract more flies with honey than vinegar, that civility is tactical. True enough. But note that nothing anyone says here will stop the truly agitated and plain-spoken from adding vinegar to the mix. And as long as folks take a zero-sum approach to our discourse and imagine that every anonymous comment here reflects the unified and controlled message of the FA, they will always have an "out" for not joining or supporting the union. So maybe rather than tipping at windmills by trying to silence the truly passionate or chide the rest of us for our justifiable bitterness, we could acknowledge folks are (admittedly, to different degrees) angry and that they have good cause to be.Some of us are worried that our metaphorical house is more than metaphorically on fire. Others would rather worry that shouting about it is in bad form and dismiss that either (a) there is a fire or (b) that fire is so bad, really. If in the heat of the moment some of us shout "move your ass, idiot!" to colleagues in danger of conflagration, we can apologize for the coarse language later while we are congratulating ourselves for reducing the number of casualties.
A word of friendly advice for Disgusted: take a blog break. I think that there are great things about this blog, but I also think it creates a distorted picture of the campus climate. I've been doing lots of direct person-to-person outreach over the last several weeks, and I am actually really impressed by how respectful and open most people have been. Yes, the faculty are somewhat polarized, which shouldn't be surprising in light of the larger political context. But on the whole, members of the campus community are respectful and gracious, even when they disagree. Take a break from the blog, celebrate your recently published book, go for a walk in the sunshine, and realize that this too shall pass.
I am really swamped today. I'll try to come back this later. But here is one quick point people may want to think about. Dave mentioned that genre effects the standards of civility. Maybe discipline does too. People over here is COS are not up on Henry James. Our academic debates are possibly not as heated as those in the humanities. So, maybe our notions of civility are different. Although I can think of exceptions (!) and there is no way of tracing what college the different commenters here are from. It is just something to consider.
Disgusted: Natasha makes a good point. I was very much in your place during may 5th year. What really helped me gain perspective was taking a sabbatical and going far away for a year. Second-year faculty member: Ignore 11:55. What can you say about someone who is all puffed up to fight but is too cowardly to go to a picnic? We need fresh talent. We need new perspectives. I hope you will stay with us.
It is obvious that disagreements are not tolerated on this website if the moderator deems to opine about my mental state at the moment! I honestly do not know why I bother to ask questions sometimes, when all I am trying to do is keep my union honest (as well as the administration). Oh, and actually figure out what is actually going on right now.
I would further add that I regard that statement as among the most hurtful ever said about me. I am sorry if a vague remark of mine said the other day offended people. It was said more out of frustration about not quite understanding why we were moving close to a strike when the BOT's latest proposal seemed to be moving into more reasonable territory. But I still fail to see how the two are equatable. Your remark is aimed at me personally.
Disgusted,I regret that you are learning what others have learned before you. You are correct, the FA does not tolerate dissent and some of its members are not at all shy about using personal attacks against any that question the official line. It is probably little comfort, but what you are experiencing is not unique to you alone.
Disgusted, my "diagnosis" is predicated on a pretty hefty set of conditional claims (and even then is hedged by a "may"). I am only possibly granting the presence of a mental disorder if you agree there is no external reason for others to be justifiably angry or bitter.It seems to me that you want to keep the union honest but resist reasonable challenges to some of your own claims. Am I wrong that you took exception to a legal prologue in one of the FA's latest supposals as "not very trusting"? Am I wrong that you called for the removal of some negotiators to be replaced with "calmer heads"?We have a difference of opinion. Where you want us to play nice in a sandbox, I note that we are in a crisis situation and are not "playing." I am very serious about the implicit pathologizing of anger in some of the calls for civility, and I am very suspicious of the call: "This bitterness has got to stop." As if it is a spigot that can be turned on or off; as if it is purely an internal disorder of the individual, and one that makes certain union members unfit to lead or comment.If your disgust is not merely the consequence of a dyspeptic personality, then perhaps the bitterness of others is similarly justified. (Please note, this is another conditional claim.)
Gray, you were wrong to suggest that Disgusted "might" have a mental disorder, and you should know better. Stop playing semantics with your "conditional claims." It's inappropriate and unnecessary to question anyone's mental fitness, when as you say in the same breath that this is really just a matter of a "difference of opinion."
Anon 11:19, are you accusing me of being uncivil? If so, you are demonstrating the dangerous slide of that term.My argument is not merely semantics, and I am not accusing anyone of having a mental disorder. The reduction of my argument to that strawperson is highly problematic.I have made a case above that the charge of "you're bitter, angry, etc." without granting the external causes of that affective response is pathologizing. It is implicitly a charge of character flaw or mental disorder, followed often as not by a call for "calmer heads" to take over. So far, no one has really responded to my claim on this point, instead jumping to indignation and my incivility.The "semantics" of my argument is important, both in my original comment and my follow-up just above. I am essentially saying, "if you believe this, then this may also be true." It is a well reasoned point made without invective. It is civil, but pointed. It is also an argument you can engage and challenge, but first you have to move beyond asserting it is inappropriate or implicitly lacking in civility.But thank-you for so aptly demonstrating the problem with a zero-sum conception of civility and the silencing function of that call.
I assure you that my disgust at the moment is not the result of a "dyspeptic personality" (again another insult on your part). Last month I was with people in believing there was a crisis. After all, if people care to remember, I voted yes to authorize a strike. Since then, however, I have seen the BOT move considerably and all I keep hearing is this union moving closer and closer to a strike. I will honor that strike, but I am so sorry if I am not all that enthusiastic at the moment. I am also so sorry if I dare to dissent or ask difficult questions that MY union does not want to answer.
Jonathan, please stop. We all know that you're a Speech Comm professor. We don't need to be lectured on the meaning of language. This isn't a classroom, and we aren't your students. Your comments were inappropriate, and your continued efforts at deflection merely demonstrate what many opponents of the FA assert - the lack of receptiveness within the FA to any views which challenge the narrative as promoted by the FA. And all this was spurred by what was apparently a well-meaning request for some level of professionalism and decorum. Well done.
I am sorry, Anon 12:21, but you are demonstrating in this short post exactly what you are accusing the FA of. Where you say the FA members resist criticism and silence dissent, you reduce (again!) my argument to "deflection" and tell me to "stop." How is that not a silencing or dismissing move? And thank you for the double bind of granting and then making a liability my professional expertise. You'd think a communication professor might know something about civil discourse. The call has been made that as professionals we should have higher expectations for our discourse, and yet you chide me for using my expertise. Here's a little more: We are, all of us, demonstrating what George Lakoff calls the "Enlightnment Fallacy" -- the misguided belief that people are principally persuaded by reasons and arguments. The call for civility is explicitly a call for rational discourse over the irrational use of fallacies, personal attacks, etc. And yet those making that call are willing to opportunistically classify a logical argument as "inappropriate" and "deflection," despite themselves never taking up the substance of its claims. Similarly, my repeated attempts to focus on the substance of my argument to no great effect also demonstrates the validity of the Enlightenment Fallacy. I am clearly not getting through, despite my civility and focus on claims and arguments. And lest we miss the point, this failure is pretty central to my critique of the blanket call for civility!So let me perfectly clear: I do not believe that Disgusted has a mental disorder or a dyspeptic personality. Now let me apply my conditionals a different way: Since I don't believe Disgusted has a dyspeptic personality or a mental disorder, I believe he/she should acknowledge that people on this campus have reason to be angry or bitter. Does it sound better when I say it that way?
Yes, but then you all should also be respectful of the viewpoint of a young, untenured faculty member who has been thrilled to work at SIUC, where he has a low teaching load, the ability to teach whatever he has wished (thus far), and the ability to thoroughly overhaul his dissertation into a first book that is already making splashes. I have little to be bitter about, other than a climate of distrust between administrators and faculty. Chancellor Cheng has a lot of responsibility for making this climate worse over the past 12 months; she and Poshard can now show some leadership in helping to get this place back on track. But, so too, does the Faculty Association. And we can start by not hurling insults at other people and then hiding behind semantics.
I agree that Jonny's 'metal illness' remark was not intended to be demeaning, yet I would not have used it. The imagery of one's words matters too. It was bound to be taken out of context by some. The comment by 12:21 PM about the lack of "receptiveness within the FA to any views which challenge the narrative as promoted by the FA" is wrong. I have been in the FA since it formed. I don't always agree with some in the FA. But I get listened to. They don't jump up and do something just because I say so. But people do listen. Years ago I was on the FS working on how to reform the JRB. Marvin Z and I got into shouting match at an FA meeting about our different approaches. But afterwards the meeting we chatted about other things calmly. I was never vilified or ostracized. I was on the DRC during the contract dispute of 2003. Many of us were ready to strike. As things got hot new people started coming to DRC meetings and arguing against a strike based on sentiments in their departments. Some of us were ticked at them because they had not been coming to meetings before and now they were challenging what we had been doing. But we listened. And when the membership voted they voted to accept the admin's contract offer. I am all for civility. But people are human and do get annoyed and say things they shouldn't. But this is not a reason put pick up your toys and go home. To put some context in this, 93 of our non-tenure track colleagues got termination notices just before Christmas last year. How civil was that? It was unnecessary and found not to be lawful. I won't call the Chancellor a dictator of those who support her stooges. But my God do you really think we should trust her? Oh, but those faculty aren't like us, she would never do that to us. Yeah right. So, let's put aside our differences, cut each other some slack and even forgive those who get uncivil at times and work together to get the best contract we can.
I have no intention of "picking up my toys" and going home. Indeed, I was about to suggest that everyone, myself included, seems to be having a bad day thus far, and that we should all just bracket this conversation. Let's all hope that we can soon get beyond this inhuman stress, strike or no strike, and win ourselves a fair contract. And then all pitch in to repair the damage that has been done to this place in the past year.
Absolutely, Disgusted. You have every reason to be disgusted, bitter, angry, etc. And while I will put the lion's share for creating the conditions for that response on administrative leadership, there is plenty of fault to go around. I celebrate your accomplishments and hope you will stay with us after you go through what I can only imagine will be a wildly successful tenure review. We are fortunate to have you here, and it says much that someone with your insights sees the need for rigorous and fair collective bargaining. I believe we are making progress on that front, and I believe our union will not call a strike unnecessarily. Your calls for and questions to the union are important, and I encourage you to make them by official channels (which this blog is not) when you think it appropriate.Please hear me when I tell you that I do not perceive myself as "hiding behind semantics." I believe pretty passionately in that implicit "pathologizing" charge I make above. I believe very much that a call for civility, while important, needs to be nuanced. Understanding why people are angry/bitter and not shaming them for it is the only real way I know to turn it off. If you felt disconfirmed by my oblique suggestion of a mental disorder, imagine how those of us feel when our positions (affective or otherwise) about the current situation are reduced to mere "bitterness," and apparently without cause. I am not against civility. I try my best to engage in it. I believe that cartoon makes a pretty pointed charge about when the indecorous voice might be appropriate. It is not a blanket call for the abandonment of civility; that too would be zero-sum.
FSN wants to collect signatures to decertify FA. I think we should do a vote of confidence for Poshard, Cheng and Nicklow. Let’s see if they have support of SIUC Faculty and staff. Here is my prediction:Poshard: 10% have confidence, 90% do not have confidenceCheng: 20% have confidence, 80% do not have confidence (Only because some of us are not paying attention to what she is doing)Nicklow: 15% have confidence, 85% do not have confidence (Only because majority of the people still do not know his credentials. It will be interesting to see the vote from Engineering)
Mike said, "too cowardly to go to a picnic" (!). I mentioned this as a particular strategy in terms of giving these people legitimacy. By attending that picnic you showed yourself to be utterly stupid and not realizing that they would use you for their own advantage. These people deliberately attempted to dismantle the progress made so far and your presence there is equivalent to going to a Tea Party meeting and not recognizing where the enemy is! Personally, I would never these people and what they represent. This is far from being "cowardly." Prerhaps you are a future Gary Kolb and Sam Goldman using their Union for your own careerist ambitions?
Cut it out guys. I know Mike for many years. He will not do anything to harm his brothers and sisters. I agree that he should not have gone to the stupid FSN picnic but comparing Mike with Gary Kolb and Sam Goldman is insulting. BTW what happened to FSN’s signature campaign? I don’t think this administration cares about SIUC’s future. They are not going to settle the contract without a strike. Get ready for November 3rd. I believe anyone crossing the picket line will be remembered for longtime.
Is that last intended as a threat?
Well, he should not have made that comment. If he thinks he can "dish it out", he ought to be able to "take it." Anyway, I agree with your last paragraph and don't think "the war will be over by Christmas." Prepare for a long struggle.
3:20 PM,You are too funny to get mad at. I got two free hot dogs from the FSN. I used them! The cookies were good too. But, I want make another point. A union is not a political party. While they do sometimes take political positions and may work for certain candidates, there is no ideological prerequisite for joining. Faculty who are politically conservative should be made to feel welcome. Obviously if one supports that wing of the Republican Party that opposes state workers unionizing you might not want to join, but the Republican Party of Illinois has not taken that position. As for the Tea Party most of the rank and file are among the 99%. I would have no qualms meeting with them. See:Occupy D.C. Learns To Like The Tea PartyOctober 22, 2011NPR"The Occupy D.C. movement on K Street is getting itself educated. NPR's Peter Overby checked in this week as they held a teach-in with Harvard Law School's Lawrence Lessig, who said protesters can take their government back from the influence of big donors by forging an alliance with the Tea Party grassroots."http://www.npr.org/2011/10/22/141613683/occupy-d-c-learns-to-like-the-tea-party
Oh Mike, So you are a "freeloader"? Personally, anybody who accepted food from that miserable group should have choked on it.
You do all realize that this is a public discussion, don't you? Would you say all this in a crowded elevator? Or at a mall, with strangers listening?
So one does not respond to provocation? This sounds very much like the "civil" discussion ideology we have been hearing so much about lately.
Thank you, Mike, for reminding us of the 93 NTT. At the time none of the 93 affected asked the NTT bargaining team to cave and accept a bad agreement. We resisted the threat and the administration caved instead. Our agreement with the administration was simple: they agreed to rescind the layoffs and the NTTFA agreed not to file a ULP or sue. Our lesson was to hang tough and hang together. Frankly, most NTTs who read these posts see many them as esoteric to a fault and aside from the point. I'm sure you have to notice the look on our faces in faculty meetings - you know the ones - when someone is making a highly detailed but obscure point that is not relevant to the discussion but seems to be the most important single idea ever conceived by human-kind. The look you see on the NTTs faces evidence a suppression of a desire to gnaw off their own legs in hopes of escaping the discussion - or should I say - series of monologues. That’s what is going on here – especially by the anonymous posters. Who hurt whose feelings? Who cares. And disgusted, when you say “that statement as among the most hurtful ever said about me” I wonder if you share the same corporeal existence as the rest of us. If you meant that as satire, touché. If not, yeesh.My points are these: 1.) we have a chancellor who doesn't fit our institution; 2.) we don't want to be what she seems to want us to be; 3.) she is willing to take extreme measures and not compromise; 4.) we have only one real countervailing force in the form of our IEA associations, and; 5.) we would be suckers of the first order to stray from that path.
Whoa. Jonny Gray's comment about the mental disorder should have ended with "I'm sorry if you took offense" and move on. But Jonny really dug a grave with his longwinded pontificating about the meaning of "may" and "is." I'm only waiting for a blue dress to complete the dissembling and hole digging. Wow. As moderator, you need to restrain yourself a bit. If you were trying to convey an effective message, you failed. Sigh.
Mister X, Good points especially in reference to what Richard France on wellesnet.com. refers to "that monumental waste of time known as faculty meetings." Your last paragraph is very relevant to the common dilemma we all face now.
Ha! Dave will be so happy to hear he's already missed.Fair enough. Apologies all, for my long windedness above. We strayed into a topic of significant professional interest for me. I'm not sure I conceptualized my role here as some sort of neutral moderator with greater expectations for my discourse, but okay. Good to know.Grant me a little time for a learning curve and a shift in roles on this blog. And I'll work on keeping comments to appropriate sound-byte length.
I say, good riddance to Dave. Jonny has been trying to be clear about some pretty complex stuff, and I for any rate have learned a bunch from what he's been saying.
The FSN people have announced that they will begin seeking signatures for their petition to get rid of the FA and replace it with nothing or with the Faculty Senate beginning on October 31, 2011. Is anybody surprised at this date--just before the strike date (Nov 3, 2011). This whole FSN thing is no doubt orchestrated by Cheng, Psohard and the Board of Trustees. Shame of them!
All this talk of civility and the need for civility is awfully boring! Can there be just one standard or norm for civility? Definitely not! Also it is a question of how something is perceived. For example, I may not intend to be uncivil but the hearer/reader could be extra sensitive and perceive someone's speech or writing as being uncivil. So who's standard is it that we are using to judge whether someone is civil or uncivil?
Anon, 2:06. No surprise at all. Another pathetic action from "Rita's pets."
Anonymous 2:06 What proof do you have to base your allegations on? Rather than tear into people and accuse them of ulterior motives, wouldn't it be better to argue against the FSN's proposal on its merits? I say this for two reasons. First, it would aid in maintaining a decorous atmosphere at this university at this moment. If this blog is any indication in recent days, there is way too much Id going on at the moment - much too much personal abuse hurled at individuals who don't conform to the party line (like the outrageous commentary about my mental health - of which I still would like an apology sometime). A lot of us really ought to chill. Personally, I found the past 36 hours of an enforced Deo Volente ban very healthy.Secondly, as someone who is a member of the FA and, just be very clear on this, DOES NOT support the FSN's proposals, wouldn't it be better for the FA to confront this challenge head on and submit itself to a vote of confidence? Winning such a vote would be among the more decisive things I could think of to silence a lot of the unreasonable anti-union period folks.Just an outside-the-box suggestion from someone who has always marched to the beat of his own drum and has never felt comfortable with party-lines.
Disgusted, Again, you show your total ignorance of union procedures and tactics for such a situation. The FSN has chosen this time to deliberately undermine what progress and solidarity (something you don't give a damn about as your previous posts reveal)show. Why should the FA "confront this challenge head on and submit itself to a vote of confidence" at this crucial time? To do so would be utter stupidity as well as letting down the three other unions who have voted in a collegial manner for the same goal - to ensure a fair contract. You have spent too much time in the "faculty club" or "common room" not to see that these people do have ulterior motives or they would not be engaging in these divisive tactics at this particular time. Anybody who allows Cheng to get away with the undermining of tenure as well as the elimination of academic freedom and not stand in solidarity with those fighting these issues certainly should question their own mental health. You're in a war zone now, not an academic conference!
Well, the last I checked, this is still a university, and will still have to function as one when this is all done and over with. One where we make it our mission day in and day out to teach our students to think logically and rationally about the world they live in, to ask probing questions, to engage in disagreement and debate (albeit civilly). If we cannot do that here, as faculty, who are we to stand up and profess to our students.
This is not a "war zone" and metaphors matter.Individual voices are not representative of a collective, but one thread within a complex system of many perspectives.Choices and alliances are considered actions, not mental health indicators.
I think it is unlikely the admin or Cheng is behind the FSN. If they were the FSN would not be proposing something as absurd as having the Faculty Senate bargain contracts. As for the timing, I agree the FSN is trying to disrupt the negotiations. They may feel that a strike would play in their favor and/or that the weaker the contract we settle on the easier it will be to blame the FA. I consider this highly uncivil of them. They could easily wait until next semester. And regardless of how they view the FA their action now weakens the other campus unions and I cannot understand such callousness. I think they should focus their energy on having more cook outs before it gets too cold; I'm a big fan of free food!
I agree with 8:46 AM, the "war zone" rhetoric is out of place. We are in a struggle, a serious one, but we will work with each other and with this administration after this round of contract talks is resolved.
Furthermore, if this thing is not resolved by next Wednesday night, I will be walking the picket line along with everyone else. I will do this out of solidarity to my colleagues even though I have some reservations. By continuing to engage in incendiary rhetoric, all you are achieving is burning bridges with moderate faculty like myself, who want to do the right thing by our colleagues as well as by our students (as well as for ourselves).
Disgusted - You are experiencing what many faculty on this campus have already experienced. The FA has no interest in your opinion. Their leadership decides what happens and you WILL follow. If you don't you will be accused of being anti-union and/or pro-administration. There is no room on this campus for differing opinions!
Anonymous 4:08 I have only been at this university four years now, so I don't believe I have enough experience to agree or disagree with your statement. I arrived also under the previous 2006-2010 contract, although I do remember that the very last dregs of the contract negotiations were going on while I was interviewing here. So, unlike others who have been around longer, I have no experience of bargaining at SIUC at all besides this experience to go by. Am I disgusted at some of the vile abuse that has been hurled in my direction by the moderator as well as anonymous commentators? Absolutely. It seems over the top in coarseness to go after people in the fashion I have seen on this blog the past few weeks. It is why I am calling for civility - not to shut down criticism of the administration when warranted (and a lot of the time lately and over the past year it has been) but because there is no need to cross over and attack individuals personally.At the same time I am willing to concede that the strike is putting all of us under a lot of stress right now, and that individuals (myself included) may not have been at their best lately. I would like to believe this to be the case; after all I do intend to stay here if the university will have me after tenure review next year, and I want this place to work. I think most of us do.
Disgusted - You are experiencing what many faculty on this campus have already experienced. This probably explains why they didn't show up for those extra crispy hotdogs. The admin has no interest in your opinion, which has been their position over the bargaining table. Their leadership decides what happens and you WILL follow, especially when it comes to FE, layoffs, furloughs, and DL. If you don't you will be accused of being anti-admin and/or pro-union and/or anti-FSN. There is no room on this campus for different opinions! So we would be better off getting rid of FA! LOL [Anon 4:08 PM: plz excuse my minor failures to conform to academic citation conventions]
As for the idea of negotiating individually for salary increases with deans let me cite the following case. Before the FA, one (now-retired faculty member) who was both productive in research and a good teacher tried this method with his Dean. The Dean just laughed in his face! I know of one faculty member who tried the other job offer with one Dean and did not tell him it was a temporary one-year appointment. Since the Dean chose not to investigate, the shyster got a huge increase in salary that he did not deserve.SIUC is an administrator's university. It has been like this since the early 70s and anybody who believes that they can operate on their own without the support of a union (unless they are administration bootlickers) deludes themselves.Also, 4:8, although Disgusted was at a Union meeting two weeks ago, he was noticeably silent over the voicing of opinions. I stress that the meeting itself was not hostile but D. had an opportunity then to voice concerns but chose not to do so.
Anonymous 9:46pmAt that very meeting you mention, there was a tiny period at the beginning for non-bargaining related questions, then the bargaining report, then the remainder of time was devoted to strike assessment led by Natasha and George. So, unless you and I were at different meetings, I do not understand your point.
The point is that if you have the objections you have been making on this blog. then you should have asked time to speak out at an official meeting. That you did not speaks volumes!
Again not really. I have the right to choose which venue I raise concerns. Furthermore, questions were asked the last time that answered some of the questions I would have also asked had we had more time to raise them - which we did not. So, I think your concern trolling is actually off-putting and meant to shut down discourse rather than further it.Since I am still relatively new to this campus and to this union, I am still keeping an open mind to what degree independent voices and ideas are tolerated within this union. The last few weeks have not left me with a favorable impression, but I am willing to be patient and still give my union the benefit of the doubt. Comments like yours do not aid in that assessment.
Obviously not since they are critical of "your" position.
I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.