Wednesday, November 19, 2008

an item from the ongoing series

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

15. Collective actions. I just love 'em.

I've spent the better part of the semester, and particularly the better part of the past week, involved in one collective action or another. Most of these were efforts to resist draconian budget cuts at the university - mostly in response to the local administration's decision to cut $1.5 million from the base budgets of academic departments to balance a budget they have been anything but forthcoming about. That effort has apparently led to the restoration of (at last count) about 80% of that budget.

Today I spent several hours helping to gather signatories to faxes to be sent to the governor and party leaders in both houses of the legislature. The university still faces the prospect of around $98 million in cuts during this academic year.

The faculty also face a re-opener of the contract we finally settled after 2 years, and the administration's opening offer was to eliminate the salary raises we spent so much time and effort winning. More collective action on that front, I figure, to follow.

Last Saturday, to take a break from all this, we went to a collective action in Modesto to protest Prop. 8. Apparently, it was the biggest such rally in Modesto over the issue of sex-based marriage discrimination. It seemed like the number of people honking car horns and yelling and whooping favorably was about two to three times higher than the number flipping us off or yelling insults.

We may lose all these fights. The Board of Trustees may vote to raise student fees, blame faculty raises (that we may not even receive) for the fee increase, and turn around and raise executive pay. Prop. 8 may stand, despite what seems like obviously unconstitutional discrimination. But what else can I do? Even if I'm going to lose, I have to fight, because there just isn't any other way to try to defend myself and what I value. Grim hope, I suppose.

No comments: