24h-payday

With “Why I Feel Bad For the Pepper-Spraying Policeman, Lt. John Pike,” Atlantic magazine senior editor Alexis Madrigal provides a useful discussion of the criminalization of protest and related militarization of police response. Madrigal is quite right that we’re missing the point if we pretend that Pike is an “independent bad actor” and “vilify” him […]

By now, you’ve seen the video of UC-Davis police lieutenant John Pike pepper-spraying a peaceful sit-in. You’ve seen his strutting little-man-in-a-big-body sadism, giving his beefy little canister a nonchalant waggle before strolling down the line of nonviolent protesters, aiming the toxic stream into their faces from a few feet away. You might even have signed […]

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 […]

“Protest season began with a bang at UC Berkeley as hundreds of chanting, fist-pumping students angry about tuition hikes charged into Tolman Hall during a raucous protest and building occupation Thursday, ” reports Nanette Asimov for the San Francisco Chronicle. The Wall Street occupiers end their first week with a vow to remain over the […]

So I’m supposed to be finishing my entry, “Labor,” for the second edition of Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s widely adopted Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Yay, I’m in the volume, but also totally depressing. I mean, it’s a class war out there and labor’s lost every battle since I started shaving. And by “labor,” […]

The real scandal of Hershey’s exploitation of hundreds of international student workers is that it isn’t actually news. Kudos to the students, who revolted en masse after paying a labor contractor $3,000 to $6,000 apiece to get $8.25/hour summer warehouse jobs in sweltering central Pennsylvania, and also to the U.S. labor associations to whom they […]

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids […]

For the third year in a row, U.S. student direct action continues to rise. The year’s best-known action was the amazing occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol. The most important all-but-uncovered action was the continuing fierce struggle at the University of Puerto Rico, held by riot police for more than six weeks. Two weeks ago, […]

Most Chronicle readers probably aren’t among the 3 million or so that Neilsen can measure watching the Spartacus prequel miniseries Gods of the Arena, which premiered in January at the number one position among cable shows in its time slot. Episode 5 plays Friday, 2/18 (Starz, but the best way to catch up is in […]

You don’t know the name Elbert F. Tellem, but you will. Just last week, as the acting Director of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) District 2, Tellem issued a potentially historic decision green-lighting contingent-faculty unionization at Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College. In the process, he threaded his way through some of the most dishonest law in the […]

You’ve probably been watching or reading about a remarkable event here in California–a group of parents at Compton’s McKinley Elementary using the nation’s first “trigger law” to transfer management of the school. It’s an important story, raising interesting questions about a potentially useful law that is already being imitated across the country. The problem is […]

I’d like you to imagine the following. Suppose we are going to have a national summit on health care. Do you not suppose that a substantial number of the voices included would be from professionals in health care, including doctors and nurses? Would you have 3 people with just the head of the AMA to […]

When the president named Arne Duncan as his first Secretary of Education, he was doing a lot more, and a lot worse, than just naming a Chicago crony and basketball buddy to a critical Cabinet position. He was adopting one of the most aggressive, least tested, top-down, pro-corporate philosophies toward education administration ever promoted in […]

An interesting piece in last week’s Chronicle, Goodbye to those Overpaid Professors in their Cushy Jobs, attempts a possibly premature farewell to a stereotype, the enduring myth that “college professors lead easy lives.”  According to reporter Ben Gose, once-rampant complaints about the imaginary prof on a three-day workweek are now hard to find. Nonetheless he […]

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 […]

Only way to please me turn around and leave and walk away –Alabama Getaway, lyrics by Robert Hunter Many who learn that the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) amputated a $650,000 state appropriation, not to mention a flow of grant money, just to rid itself of a labor center (and Glenn Feldman, the accomplished historian who […]

Across the planet for the past two years, university management has been opportunistically putting the screws to faculty, staff and students with bogus claims that “the economy made us do it.” Professor of accounting and AAUP Secretary-Treasurer Howard Bunsis has made a second career of flying around North America debunking these hilariously dishonest claims, a […]

So when I heard Anya Kamenetz, once the passionate shoot-from-the-hip spokesperson against student debt, was reinventing herself as the passionate shoot-from-the-hip analyst of new media in education, I was prepared to give her a listen. I thought, well, at least she has enough dignity and intelligence not to turn herself into a pimpette for learn-while-you-sleep […]

As usual, your friends at the New York Times let higher education employers off the hook. After finally picking up on the nationwide scandal of unemployment claims denial, a story that Joe Berry broke years ago specifically in connection with higher ed employers, the Times mentions the complicity of just about every kind of employer […]

In a nine-page report, the ACLU just slammed the Berkeley administration for trampling on the rights of two student protesters. And: is the Minneapolis conference about this year’s campus unrest the last act, or a prelude to even bolder action? Watch the live broadcast to find out.  There was a police confrontation at a sit-in […]

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 […]

  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 […]

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 […]

Bérubé How many submissions did you receive for The Institution of Literature? Williams 385, not counting the nine essays you submitted, eight of which sucked, if you don’t mind my saying so. Bérubé Not at all. I totally respect your opinion when it comes to essays of mine that suck. Williams Well, they did. As […]

Is your administration using “the economy” as an excuse to extort more work for less pay from an already over-burdened faculty? Buying Howard Bunsis a plane ticket to your campus might be the best investment you can make right now. Bunsis, a Michigan professor of accounting and treasurer of the AAUP, has been tracking administrator […]

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 […]

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’m acquainted with Joel Russel, chemistry prof and president of the AAUP chapter at Michigan’s Oakland University. Courteous, soft-spoken and gentle to the point of self-effacement, he’s naturally conflict-avoidant and careful with his speech. But yesterday’s scheduled start of classes found him walking a picket line with most of his colleagues and several hundred supportive […]

Late last night, disabled faculty veteran Gerald Davey posted to the adjunct faculty discussion list (join) to explain that he’d been fired, less than a year after blowing the whistle on San Antonio College administration’s scheme to defraud contingent faculty by forcing them to sign waivers relinquishing pay and eligibility they had earned under state […]

Bob Samuels is the president of UC-AFT, the union representing nontenurable faculty at University of California campuses across the state. Like thousands of others, he recently received a layoff notice in the wake of the chancellor’s assumption of ’emergency powers’ (the academic equivalent of martial law). On his blog recently, Bob explained how 3500 U.C. […]

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 […]

In my last column, I pointed out that the nationalist and “cultural capital” function of literature classes are in decline. With their tenure lines evaporating, many literature faculty are grasping at the claim that they teach “reading” and “thinking.” By this they generally mean the training of managers and professionals in a degraded version of […]

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 […]

Turkey at the top is always intensely competitive. This year’s contenders included first runner-up Robert Felner, the U of Louisville dean indicted for conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion in what the feds allege are repeated acts of embezzlement of grant monies amounting to over $2 million. Not content with these escapades, […]

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 […]

The Moore College of Art and Design has been trying to crush its faculty for two decades. Since 1990, when it employed mostly tenure-stream faculty, it has been converted into an academic Wal-mart, with 31 full-timers on contracts and 70 adjuncts, draconian violations of shared governance and academic freedom norms, including a code prohibiting artists […]

When I showed up at my first tenure-track job in a right-to-work, kind of Southern state, adjunct writing faculty were being asked to pay tuition for a summer pedagogy seminar run by the writing director in an illegal “pay-to-work” scheme. (Unless the prospective adjuncts were spouses of tenure-track faculty, in which case they still had […]

photo: Louis Lanzano, Associated Press So yesterday I suggested that some other person take up a camera and assist the trustees to introduce themselves.But then I thought, why wait? These clever, selfless folks have overseen the vicious gutting of the faculty–earnestly saving on our wages and benefits (“$1000 a class–what great managers we are! maybe […]

Many thanks for the suggestions on the Academic Labor Bookshelf. Later in the summer, I’ll reissue it, revised, expanded, and with commentary. A couple of weeks back, I linked to a report by Phil Jack on AFT’s Face Talk about the case of Margaret West, a 20-year veteran part-timer at Edmonds Community College in Washington […]

Margaret West has worked for Edmonds Community College for 21 years, serving for more than a decade on her union’s executive board, and for most of that time serving under her American Federation of Teachers contract’s “Assurance of Employment” clause. She has joined administrators to testify on behalf of education funding and led the faculty […]

A California court upholds UC-Irvine’s retaliation against engineering prof Juan Hong for complaining about permatemping–are you next? AAUP senior counsel Rachel Levinson has taken to sending occasional emails to AAUP members about the truly scary state of case law affecting traditional faculty rights. Her latest, on the retaliation against Irvine professor Juan Hong for speech […]

Counseled by a major union-busting law firm, McGill is playing hardball with AGSEM , the union of its striking grad employees. It’s employing what some faculty are describing as “pressure tactics” and erratic behavior at the bargaining table in an effort to stall bargaining, break the strike, and get individual students to sign workload agreements […]

Founded in 1960, the minnesota review has long served as a leading outlet for literary fiction and poetry, and, under Jeffrey Williams’ editorship since 1992, established itself as a foremost outlet for cultural-studies scholarship and reflection about the increasingly sorry state of the profession under managerial domination. It has grown into a uniquely influential voice […]

In an essential new tract for the majority of faculty who serve contingently, Joe Berry explains how sleazeball administrations game the social-service system to vacuum every last dime from your pocket. It takes a village to pay for the ultra-low wages that most contingent faculty are paid. The math is simple: since paying someone fifteen […]

In this final season of David Simon’s The Wire, we see the dystopic contemporary Baltimore created by the class war from above. It’s a city ravaged by “quality management,” the same philosophy that administrations across the country have adopted in shunting the overwhelming majority of college faculty into contingent positions. As Time magazine television critic […]

In our abortive exchange over at Brainstorm, Stephen Trachtenberg a) repeatedly ignored my very polite request to talk about the circumstances of the overwhelming majority of faculty, those who serve contingently; b) said I could leave the academy if I didn’t like it; c) affected that I was a tricky fellow using rhetoric and d) […]

I was a bit surprised that Stephen Trachtenberg chose to ignore my second invitation to talk about the plight of the majority faculty–those who serve contingently–and, instead, indulged in a speculative ad hominem flight of fancy that ends with inviting me to leave the academy! I’m sorry Mr. Bousquet is so unhappy in the academy… […]

One of the co-contributors over at Brainstorm, Stephen Trachtenberg, president emeritus at G-Dub, recently posted on the importance of “safety nets” for administrators, then followed it with a post in which he questioned the usefulness of tenure for faculty, at least for those profs he described as “burnt-out”: The academy needs better, more imaginative ways […]

crossposted at Brainstorm So it’s neck and neck in the Democratic race, and since neither candidate has promised to end poverty in academia, I wonder: which of the candidates has a viable plan for treating contingent faculty diagnosed with cancer, or heart disease? (Since “quality management” and “executive leadership” doesn’t take responsibility for these issues, […]

I was appalled to read some of the reader comments at the Chronicle of Higher Ed to a news wire story about books by two of the estimated 40,000 students in France who may have turned to sex work to finance their educations (as a result of a steady turn toward the U.S. model of […]

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