Wednesday, November 2, 2011
And So It Has Come To This...
I am fresh back from the Solidarity Rally where a courtyard full of people demonstrated their commitment to following through in the name of respect, in the name of fairness, in the name of transparency and accountability. We are not happy or eager to strike, but we are vigorously resolved. And the mood is high that a strike is what is required.
So you are reading this. Not you who will anonymously respond with doubt or derision. Not you who are weary with the work of it all but still ready to see it through. But you, that colleague who has followed along, hoping like so many of us that it wouldn't come to a strike, hoping it would all just come to an end and we could move on. Hoping most not to get into the muck of it all, to stay above the fray, to teach your classes and do your research and try to remember what you value in an academic life. I am talking to you.
We also hoped, like you, that it wouldn't come to a strike. But, barring some last minute awakening to the importance of compromise by our Administration, it has. And based on the size and energy in that crowd, it is a strike that will challenge any "business as usual" promises from the Chancellor or the President. You will face your colleagues on that line when you try to go to work tomorrow, and you will face a decision. Will you continue to imagine you can stay above it, that it doesn't affect you? Can you cross the line and imagine you are not involved?
There is one last chance to make it go away, but it doesn't involve walking or driving past the picket line and pretending it isn't there. If you really want it all to be over, just turn around. Go back. Take the day off. Or better still, join your colleagues on the picket line. Because that is now your last, best option to make this all end quickly.
I left that rally tonight feeling an energy I haven't felt on this campus in, well, ever. Not a confidence or a cockiness, but a palpable sense of taking ownership of our institution. We are SIUC, not exclusively but so significantly. And we welcome you, colleague, to join us and feel the energy of this solidarity. No jeers, no sneers, no toxic atmosphere -- just welcome. Join us and, by joining us, help us end this thing.
I hope I'll see you on the line tomorrow.