Thursday, March 16, 2006

Academic Labor: The Front Lines

(Nerds wanted to post this yesterday, but Blogger aparently decided we were a spam blog and we had to fix the problem. Our apologies for the delay.)

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, faculty members at Kaplan University (a for-profit university enrolling 50,000 students and owned by the Washington Post) are currently trying to form a union. The University employs about 110 full-time and 1,500 part-time faculty, and the UAW is involved in the organizing campaign.

Important issues in the unionization campaign include pressure to inflate grades and look the other way at plagiarism or cheating. In addition, former faculty members allege that they have been fired simply for receiving an average course evalation score below 4 on a 5-point scale in one course or for writing and circulating emails critical of the University administration.

The Faculty Senate has urged faculty not to support the union, using language suspiciously familiar to GSOCers: "Although we respect the right of faculty to voice an opinion about the university's governance structure, we also want to make clear that doing so in such a manner runs some real risks and may well be an unwise course of action...Creating a partisan or adversarial faculty union runs the real risk of reducing trust between the administration and faculty and therefore limiting the nature, scope, and efficacy of constructive rational dialogue."

You can read the rest of the story (it's very long), but you may need subscriber access.

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