Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Do or die time for pensions

The legislature may be about the ram a pension bill through.  Here's a link to the latest statement by the IEA president, Cindy Klickna. And here's a link to a handy form that will allow you to send off a quick email to the governor and your legislators. The IEA provides a form letter, but you can edit or delete it and write your own.

This development is so depressing that I've tried to ignore it. But if all us take a few minutes to send off a quick email, that may make a bit of a difference. I use the union links because they are handy, and the unions ought to have some power with our Democratic state government, but this is, I suspect, an issue that unifies the vast majority of faculty, union or no. As I've blogged before, our pensions are already far less than those at peer institutions. These reforms threaten to reduce them to Walmart levels--no better than Social Security (and in fact cheaper for the state, which doesn't even match the payments it would need to make were we in the Social Security system).

Monday, May 14, 2012


A quick review of the new SIUC graduation: I think the new ceremony is an improvement. 

I attended the ceremony for the colleges of Liberal Arts and Mass Communication and Media Arts.  The new ceremony was more of a show (as in the confetti below), but on the whole this was a good thing, I think. Past Liberal Arts graduations, at any rate, were almost entirely formulaic; some years the distinguished alum would give a speech (of varied quality), and a representative of the alumni association would make a quick pitch for that organization, but other than that it was mainly "by the power vested in me" language, followed by the long if joyous parade of grads across the stage. Most years no one made any effort to say anything inspirational. Surely graduates should get someone making an effort to send them off with some words of wisdom. Now they do.