Work stoppage? What work stoppage? I haven’t heard anything about a work stoppage


How odd that I have to get info about university policy from a TV news site rather than from our administration.

University of Minnesota professors are mulling a work stoppage if the university refuses to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to American Association of University Professors meeting minutes and documents obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. More than 500 faculty and students have signed on to a letter endorsing a vaccine requirement.

Hang on there. I haven’t heard even a whisper of a threat of a work stoppage from my colleagues or the university listserv. One way to look at it is that we are generally obliging sheep who will march to our doom without hesitation. A better way to look at it is that we take our responsibilities very seriously — our students are making a 4 year commitment to a structured, cumulative program of instruction, and we don’t want to compromise their advancement at all. A year and a half ago, we shut down classes on campus and scrambled to keep the students going with online instruction, at great personal cost, and we’d do it again. A work stoppage isn’t in the cards, a workload increase is.

I also expect that the prospect of students dying on campus is a more potent incentive to impose a vaccine mandate than the idea that professors might walk out. I hope. You never know with university administrators. My university doesn’t employ many adjuncts, so the idea of using adjuncts as front-line cannon fodder is off the table, anyway.

At least this part of the story is accurate.

AAUP members say they are frustrated by governing bodies of the university making decisions without consulting affected faculty and staff, who came to the following agreement:

“The consensus emerged that we should bring pressure for a vaccination mandate to bear through the media as well as through organizations like Council of Graduate Students, Minnesota Student Association, and college and university governance. Public pressure could give the administration cover to alter the present policies. Our targets and objectives are twofold: the U president, for mandating vaccinations; the U provost, for mandating versatility in instructional modality.”

Frustrated is right. The faculty as a whole have not been consulted on pandemic policy. We just get messages from on high. “No vaccine or mask mandate!” Then, “OK, mask mandate! But you’ll be teaching in a classroom!” Or, “Get tested!” But then, “we’re shutting down testing facilities! And the campus vaccination service!” We’re not asked, we’re told.

But there aren’t even rumors of work stoppages. At least, not until our classes are drained by the death or quarantining of mass numbers of students. I draw the line at asking students to die for their biology degree.

Comments

  1. robro says

    I like digging into the corporations behind the news. KSTP is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, which you might call the flagship station. Hubbard Broadcasting was founded by Stanley E. Hubbard in 1925 in Minneapolis. Hubbard Broadcasting is a nation wide collection of media outlets that operates TV and radio stations, and cable channels in about 20 markets around the country.

    The business is currently run by Hubbard’s son, Stanley S. Hubbard. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the current Hubbard under “Political Activity”:

    Hubbard is a prolific Republican and Libertarian donor. Hubbard made political contributions to Scott Walker’s presidential campaign in 2015.Hubbard also donated money to Our Principles PAC, a Super PAC dedicated to stopping the presidential nomination of Donald Trump, but then donated to Trump-aligned Super PACs after Trump became the presumptive nominee

    Of course. By the way, Hubbard Broadcasting is in the middle of a labor dispute with workers at one of it’s outlets in Albany, NY.

    Oh, Wikipedia adds that “Hubbard is married to Karen.” Natch.

  2. raven says

    The faculty as a whole have not been consulted on pandemic policy.

    Neither have the students. The whole raison d’etre of the universities.
    The ones whose payments keep the universities in existence.

    Polls show that the majority of students support reasonable epidemiological measures to control the pandemic.

  3. numerobis says

    If you aren’t includes in discussions of going on strike, how do you fix that?

    Going on strike is generally how workers force management to do the right thing. They’ve managed to convince most Americans that this is un-American but don’t listen to them.

    Signing onto a medically dangerous policy for the good of the students’ graduation dates is bonkers. Going on strike loses them a few days likely, whereas the alternative of getting sick loses them … a few days, plus a risk of lifetime illness or even death.

  4. Bruce says

    I think at least science faculty could tell their students: we might not have legal mandates here. But I grade you on knowing what the science says, so you’ll want to show that you know it.
    Maybe you can revise your syllabus to put in 1% for demonstrating knowledge of how the vaccination process works, and for the benefits of risk reduction for masking.
    Administrators who make pandemic decisions without consulting their own biologists are in no position to question the syllabi of chemists or physicists who ask students to show real world understanding of science in the public arena. I’d think this is almost mandatory to show compliance with some of the university’s global learning objectives and learning outcomes. Jargon, jargon, we get to teach what’s useful even if the admin doesn’t understand it.

  5. Bruce says

    I think at least science faculty could tell their students: we might not have legal mandates here. But I grade you on knowing what the science says, so you’ll want to show that you know it.
    Maybe you can revise your syllabus to put in 1% for demonstrating knowledge of how the vaccination process works, and for the benefits of risk reduction for masking.
    Administrators who make pandemic decisions without consulting their own biologists are in no position to question the syllabi of chemists or physicists who ask students to show real world understanding of science in the public arena. I’d think this is almost mandatory to show compliance with some of the university’s global learning objectives and learning outcomes. Jargon, jargon, we get to teach what’s useful even if the admin doesn’t understand it.

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