24h-payday

a guest post by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein November 9, 2011 may prove to have been another turning point in the relationships between the occupation movement and university campuses. Students have played a leading role in the occupations at Wall Street and around the US, not to mention the occupation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Spanish indignado […]

Chanting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” the protesters occupying Wall Street are digging in for a fifth day and circulating graphic images and video of escalating police violence and harassment. There are several reports of hospitalizations due to brutal arrest tactics, such as this one showing a protestor tossed headfirst to the […]

a guest post by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein Zuccotti Park in the Lower Manhattan financial district has been occupied by a politically diverse group for the last three days, with participation of up to several thousand at a time. Protesters have renamed the space “Liberty Park,” to brand it as an American counterpoint to Cairo’s Tahrir (“Liberation”) […]

On Saturday September 17th, movement organizers hope to funnel 20,000 protestors into Manhattan’s financial district, set up kitchens and tents, and occupy Wall Street for the next several months. Proclaiming we are the 99 percent, many of the 7,500 persons who have indicated an intention to participate are the highly educated working poor, under-employed with […]

Twenty years of schoolin’ And they put you on the day shift Look out kid They keep it all hid –Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues On March 22, a prominent group of education bloggers agreed to provide statements loosely organized on the theme of “why faculty like me support unions.” Unexpectedly Stanley Fish, a career-long […]

A guest post by Michael Verderame This Sunday a fellow member of the University of Illinois Graduate Employees Organization, Zach Poppel, and I traveled to Madison to support the occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol. We went there in support not just of public workers in Wisconsin, but of the very idea of collective bargaining. Many […]

Should The New York Times (NYT) exist? Ha–you’re thinking, “What an unfair question!” Or “You’ve framed the debate in an obviously unfair or careless way.” And right you are. But since I’m a rich and powerful chunk of media capital with a stake in the answer, I don’t care what you think, and I’m free […]

Just last year, Stanley Fish was playing Clint Eastwood with his manifesto: Do Your Job, Punk! (or, My Tinfoil Hat Keeps Politics Out of My Teaching–Get Yours Today!) In that widely panned book, he argued that the role of the faculty was to produce and distribute knowledge magically apart from the mundane and political. Earlier […]

Let’s say you teach at an M.A.-granting state school with 2,000 new first-year undergraduates entering annually. Let’s further say they take half their load with faculty on part-time appointments. Controlling for other variables, one new multi-campus study suggests that this degree of contingency in faculty appointment could play a significant part in 600 students dropping […]

Over at the Atlantic, business editor Megan McArdle lit up the Beltway blab-o-sphere by posing an interesting question: If “almost every” tenured professor she knows has a “left-wing vision” of workplace issues, why do they accept the “shockingly brutal” treatment of faculty with contingent appointments? Her perception of leftism among the faculty leads her to […]

In a surprise move today, President Obama fired all 5,000 Department of Education staff members, including Secretary Arne Duncan. “Education is a failed Cabinet office,” he said. “We needed a clean sweep.” Spokespersons for the administration said the president was forced to act by a little-known federal law mandating the radical progressive de-funding of any […]

A new survey conducted for AFT adds confusion to the already muddled debate about the majority of faculty serving outside the tenure system. Ultimately the union is interested in a particular problem–organizing–for which in many states part-time status represents a legal boundary for the construction of bargaining units. This legalistic definition of the group, and […]

  Eric Lee’s Labour Start clearinghouse for global labor news has just announced nominees for its first-ever award, Labor Video of the Year. Two of the five finalists are inspired by working conditions in higher ed. I think both are among the three likeliest to win. My top choice is the clever, often hilarious series […]

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget. It began with […]

In a draft article published to its website today, Scientific American blasts some of the junk analysis bedeviling mainstream higher ed coverage and what passes for policy “thought” about academic labor. “The real crisis in American science education,” the article concludes, “is a distorted job market’s inability to provide [young scientists] careers worthy of their […]

Slow dissolve: Manhattan, fifteen years ago. I walk a few blocks from my place on Third Street– next to an anarchist squat, across from the NuYorican Poets Cafe–to the headquarters of the Modern Language Association (MLA), then in Astor Place. I explain the agenda of the Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) to the director of the […]

The stark contrast between recent imaginative actions by students and the decades of poor data, bad analysis, and foot-dragging by most academic institutions suggests a possibility. Could AAUP and the disciplinary associations could become the next target for the more radical students? For today’s grads, socially conscious unionism no longer represents the left wing of […]

My piece questioning the supply-side bent to the American Historical Association’s 2010 job report has gotten thoughtful replies by historiann, Alan Baumler, Jonathan Rees, Ellen Schrecker, Sandy Thatcher and others, both here and at Brainstorm. I really appreciate these thoughts, and want to emphasize how much I respect Townsend’s work for AHA over the years, […]

Several hundred students gathered at the Oakland courthouse Monday to protest the filing of felony burglary charges against protesters last week, then began an impromptu march over to the University of California’s Office of the President (UCOP), the building from which Mark Yudof directs the entire UC system. About 70 members of the crowd pushed […]

Follow the Berkeley standoff via microblog. Also see this video of a unionized campus worker addressing several hundred UCSC students during the third day of the current occupation. Best updates on California occupations here; best strike and breaking media from UPTE; and all other UC news at Newfield et al’s place here. Update 5pm PST: […]

Update: you’ve got to watch this video. Yesterday the UC Regents walked into a room packed with gasoline and nonchalantly lit their cigars–handing down tuition increases that will hike 2010 rates 44% over 2008, turning higher ed into a gated community for the offspring of California’s “Real Housewives” class. Their bet is the usual bet […]

Does your idea of public higher education include values like fairness and diversity? Yeah, me too. Ditto for the several hundred grad students drumming in the rain in Illinois today, after their union struck to defend tuition waivers.Get updates and join their 2,500 fans on the GEO Facebook page. Charging tuition to working graduate students […]

The 2000 students sitting in at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts ignited occupations at a handful of neighboring buildings and campuses, then leapt across Austria and into Germany (where already last summer a quarter million students, faculty, teachers, and parents struck to fight various sleazy American-model* initiatives being pushed by the aptly-named “Bologna Process”). […]

This is the text of an email blast sent out by AAUP to 370,000 faculty, announcing the release of a draft report on conversion to tenure, co-authored by me, and featuring several examples of different ways that different institutions have moved to stabilize their faculty. We’ve already received over 150 comments, most positive and most […]

With a 150-person sit-in at Berkeley and members of the two UCSC occupations beginning a southern tour of talks at several campuses near Los Angeles this week, the movement appears to be gathering steam. In the next 24 hours, occupiers will explain their strategy for movement building–“demand nothing, occupy everything” at UCLA, Irvine, and Cal […]

In lower Manhattan, students demonstrate in solidarity with protesters at UC Santa Cruz. The Occupy California group peacefully ended their weeklong occupation of a UCSC facility last Thursday, but announced that they left “in order to escalate” their confrontation with the state and campus authorities. During the event, messages of solidarity poured in from Britain, […]

During last week’s massive 10-campus walkout, several dozen students and workers occupied [video] the Graduate Student Commons at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), issuing statements frankly acknowledging their intention to escalate the conflict: “Occupation is a tactic for escalating struggles,” they note at their website, “We must face the fact that the […]

Dear University of California students, staff and faculty: Thank you. As a California parent, I am grateful for your courage in standing up to this administration in the massive walkout you’ve planned for tomorrow, September 24th. You are wise. Without you, tuition would soon rise to a point where most Californians couldn’t afford it. Public […]

I’ve previously complained about the New York Times’ coverage and opinion regarding higher ed, which it treats more as a culture and lifestyle choice than as a critical social concern and economic enterprise. Moreover, it has drifted to the right on K-12 education, delivering soft coverage of charter schools, union busters like Michelle Rhee and […]

A short piece forthcoming in the tenth anniversary issue of Pedagogy (Duke UP). For me the most compelling question in English studies today is the tension between the figure of reading and the figure of writing, especially as it plays out in what David Downing calls managed disciplinarity, the disciplinary division of labor between writing […]

In this week’s lead story at _The Chronicle of Higher Education,_ Robin Wilson has a spread of four pieces scoffing at the notion of a national problem with undergraduate debt: A Lifetime of Debt? Not Likely.Splashed above the fold on the front page — during Congressional hearings regarding major reforms in student lending — this […]

This essay is drawn from the final issue of minnesota review to be edited by Jeffrey Williams, featuring a series of statements of professional commitment or belief–credos–by representative scholars. It’s a very special series of essays, and a worthy capstone to Williams’ extraordinary run as editor. I’ll follow up with more about Williams’ accomplishments, and […]

EVERY DAY MAY DAY!   Thursday, April 30 is May Day for faculty serving contingently, according to the fledgling New Faculty Majority coalition. Major support provided by Bob Samuels, president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing nontenurable faculty at five UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Cruz. Support ’em by wearing red […]

The most popular interview on my YouTube channel is Play PhD Casino! with Monica Jacobe Saturday’s report on academic employment by the New York Times hangs on the peg of a fact: in many fields, tenure track hiring will be down this year. Accompanying the story by culture reporter Patricia Cohen is a photograph of […]

Hundreds of students showed up to support the approximately 80 students occupying an NYU cafeteria last week. Organized by the TakeBackNYU coalition of dozens of student organizations, the occupying students asked for increased campus democracy, transparency in operations, and accountability from the administration to faculty and students. Specific demands included tuition stabilization, collective bargaining with […]

Take students out of the workforce and create real jobs for educators. This week, lawmakers will meet to forge a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the stimulus bill. The likely consequence will be something similar to the Senate version, which targeted education funds for aggressive reductions—chopping an average almost $1 billion per […]

“Democracy in the workplace is still basic to a democratic society, and collective bargaining is still basic to a fair economy,” says Wilma Liebman. Last week’s appointment of Wilma Liebman to chair the NLRB is extremely welcome news to graduate employees and other academic workers. The author of a scathing dissent to the Bush mob’s […]

“We’re in the business of education,” Arne Duncan says. The market worshipers have marched out of the building; hurray! Wait–who’s that tall basketball-playing fellow getting ready to sit in the Education seat? As superintendent of the Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan has given us a fair preview of his vision. It’s “a business-minded, market-driven model […]

Part 1: Overview & Key Facts Part 2: Kudos for Recommendations Part 3: Complaints and concerns Part 4: Interview with Paul Lauter There are some problems with MLA’s representation of the needs and circumstances of the nontenurable faculty. If you want to know how they really live and think, watch Linda Janakos’s documentary, Teachers on […]

Literally a decimation. And so many women faculty, toiling out of the tenure stream for incredibly low wages.  Part 1: Key facts and kudos Part 2: Complaints and concerns Part 3: Interview with Paul Lauter Most of my blogging between now and early January will relate to the worst-timed gathering in the profession, the Modern […]

Without federal leadership, the crumbling faculty infrastructure will remain disproportionately white and male in the best-paying and most secure positions. With everyone else getting bailed out, higher education is at an absolutely critical juncture, with profound implications for academic actors at all institution types, and their ambitions to serve racial and economic justice. On the […]

College tuition is free; and executive salaries capped at 15 times the minimum wage. The Yes Men media pranksters have claimed responsibility for a million-copy spoof edition of the New York Times handed out yesterday on Manhattan streets. It captures the gap between what is needed–what we hope and long for–and what we’re likely to […]

This is part 1 of 4 in my series of interviews with NYU GSOC activists. In this segment they reflect on the lessons learned from the 2005 strike, concluding that no union can stand alone. MB: So why don’t we talk about the lessons learned. I think one of things that graduate employees, at whatever […]

Earlier in the summer, I noted some opposition by CUNY faculty serving contingently to the contract proposed by the leadership–a group of folks including Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Bowen, Marcia Newfield, and others that I regard as friends and mentors: these are the people that brought me into the movement. At the time, they were the […]

In honor of Labor Day, very interesting posts by Brainstorm comrades Bauerlein (part one and part two) and Barreca. The posts and ensuing conversations are very much worth a look. Above, Professors Take The Long Course in Poverty by Melanie Hubbard, St. Petersburg Times, January 6, 2008

Part 1 of an interview with Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has never been interviewed for a tenure-track job while serving on full-time contingent appointments for 10 years. MB. How would you describe your situation? MH. Downwardly mobile! I was a teaching assistant at an […]

I’m humbled and touched by a slew of spring/summer 2008 reviews, by Stanley Aronowitz (below), Jan Clausen (below), Louis Proyect (the Unrepentant Marxist), Jon Whiten of In These Times, Mr. Adjunct Whore , Anna Creech at BlogCritics, Gregory Zobel at Adjunct Advice,  Delight and Instruct, and Paolo Do in Posse (Italian only), and of course the very […]

The 17th Annual Coalition of Graduate Employee Unions begins today, and features appearances by major union figures, including my friend Barbara Bowen, who came to power in the CUNY union as part of an innovative coalition of tenure-stream faculty, graduate employees and faculty serving contingently, with a small role played by yours truly in the […]

Part 2 of 4 in my extended interview with activists from Graduate Students United at the University of Chicago. They sing “Ballad of the Marooned Dissertation Writers,” by radical folklorist Joe Grim Feinberg. Graduate employee unionization in the U.S. is more advanced at public institutions, and organizing at private schools stalled for a while in […]

Seems that 5,000 University of California postdocs just chose UAW as their collective bargaining representative. In recent years, UAW’s success in organizing the majority contingent faculty has spurred on the efforts of NEA, AFT, and AAUP. Majority of the University of California’s 5,000 Postdoctoral Researchers Choose Collective Bargaining by Matthew “Oki” O’Connor, PRO/UAW San Francisco, […]

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