Dear Alma: “Concerned Student”

Dear Alma, I keep hearing that union supporters don’t care about students, and that a union will drive tuition up even higher.  What’s your take on this? — Concerned Student Eating Ramen


Dear C.S. —

We certainly care about students and their educations: many of us got involved with CFA because we are concerned about how class size and the shrinking faculty affects your learning.  We were tired of teaching in crumbling classrooms. We think you deserve more discussion sections.  ScanTron exams should not be the U of I standard.

Our campaign includes many non-tenure-track faculty, who (along with TAs) most intensively teach undergrads. In general, these faculty are on year-to-year contracts and are paid much less for much more work than the tenure-stream faculty.  They need better salaries, long-term contracts,  fairer  workloads, and better institutional support to  do the best possible job of teaching.  They need to be around long-term if they are going to work with you closely.

One of the main goals of our union campaign is to increase the transparency in the way the University Administration spends money. For example, for the past four years, it has been stashing away several hundred million dollars per year into reserves.  This is so much money that it could be used to simultaneously increase salaries and decrease tuition.  Amazing, isn’t it?   A union could help make better decisions about how to use these funds — your tuition dollars, in fact.

Support us. We’re in this for the educational quality.

— xoxo   Alma

Published by Susan Davis

I teach in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois.

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