Today's editorial, though, says that the students who protested yesterday are "obviously brainwashed", prey to their ditzy emotions and passions, utterly out of touch with the facts, and completely lacking in common sense. (The paper covers the protest, fairly, here.) This editorial, I think, calls out for some comment. The students involved are, at least judging by the rather eloquent piece that I posted the other day, exactly the sorts of students we should be proud of. "We" here means anyone interested in a university that encourages students to get involved and informed about the issues facing them. You can of course disagree with what they are saying or how they are saying it, but when the hometown newspaper of a university town drips with contempt for articulate, engaged, and informed student activists, well, that newspaper is clearly part of the problem.
I'll engage with the rest of the editorial after the break.
For Metro and the Southern editorial board, there's nothing very difficult to understand about what's going on at SIUC. They note, accurately, that the last union contract included raises for faculty that got us pretty close to our peers in pay (for a more nuanced account of how SIUC faculty compensation stacks up, try this post). While Metro et al do not explicitly spell this out, their point is obviously that we are paid just fine and therefore have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Metro & Co. do, however, do us the courtesy of noting that we claim to be concerned about things other than salaries. They present a list which climaxes as follows.
Tenure is under attack by the administration. Faculty must be included in shared governance at SIU.That last union complaint is particularly extreme--apparently Metro would prefer a form of shared governance in which faculty are not included. Here's how Metro & Co respond to this list of charges.
If those claims sound well-thought-out to you, please read no further. The cartoons and horoscopes are elsewhere in the paper.That's actually a pretty funny line. It is also the only response they can be bothered to make to the union's positions. I like to mix a little argument in with my jokes, but I suppose if your argument is a joke, well, go for it. In place of any attempt to address concerns about tenure or shared governance or anything else (save salaries, an issues the unions have not been raising), Metro & Co go on to praise the FSN but to deplore the fact that more faculty haven't yet joined them.
By the end of that editorial, I need a drink, though today, uncharacteristically, I'm blogging at 11:30 in the morning rather than 11:30 at night, so don't already have one to hand. In keeping with Gary Metro's suggestion--by the way, isn't Gary Metro the name of the editor at the Daily Planet?--in keeping with Metro's suggestion, I will accept donations for said drink. Send cash only, please, to the following address:
Whiskey for Blogging Fund
666 Ivory Tower Avenue
Ostrichville, IL, 99999
Full disclosure: I prefer my whiskey neat, but this picture sure looks inviting, doesn't it?