Statement of Solidarity with those Fighting Racism and Police Violence

The Campus Faculty Association stands in solidarity with those all over the nation engaged in the struggle against racism and police violence. As educators we have a special responsibility to dismantle the systems of oppression that again and again deprive our African American brothers and sisters of their very right to live.

We call on all CFA members to do whatever they can to contribute to the ongoing struggle for racial justice, both here in our own community of Champaign-Urbana and in communities around the country.

Along with other acts of solidarity and support, we encourage members to join CFA in donating to one of the organizations raising funds in response to the arrests of protestors, such as:

Champaign County Bailout Coalition

List of Bail Funds from across the U.S.

Signed,

CFA Executive Committee

CFA Statement on Plans for the Fall 2020 Semester

To the University of Illinois community:

The Campus Faculty Association opposes the re-opening of our campus in Fall 2020 in order to protect the health and well-being of all UIUC students, employees, and community members. 

If our campus returns to in-person instruction, students will arrive in Champaign-Urbana from all across the state, nation, and beyond. They will live and socialize in close quarters and will interact with community members, academic and support staff, maintenance workers, and others. These are the conditions for what epidemiologists call a “super spreader event.” We appreciate that the university administration is making efforts to prevent a fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the fall, but adequate protection on a residential campus the breadth and size of ours is nearly impossible. We unequivocally oppose any plan to reopen campus that poses lethal risks to our community. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also catalyzed an unprecedented economic crisis. As tenured and tenure-track faculty members, we have the privilege of receiving our paychecks and benefits through the crisis. We believe all workers deserve the same, and we support the university administration’s leadership in establishing the “COVID-19 Pandemic Pay and Benefit Continuity Protocol.” This protocol must be extended throughout the crisis to ensure the continuity of pay and benefits for all UIUC employees, including those unable to return to campus. 

Even under the forecasted budget contractions, our University has the resources to avoid layoffs. We should take all possible measures — including drawing emergency funds from our endowment — to do so. This crisis demands a deliberative budget allocation process that involves all stakeholders, including faculty and other workers. CFA members stand ready to help create an emergency alternative budget that will allow our community to weather this storm intact. 

We oppose an in-person opening because of the dire public health risks to our entire community. Rather than allocating university resources to mitigate a crisis of our own making, let us work together to protect the lives and livelihoods of our entire community while providing the best online education and virtual campus life we can.

Signed,

The Campus Faculty Association at UIUC

Statement on the Response to COVID-19

The last week has been extraordinarily difficult for so many in our community. As we make sense of our new reality and confront the uncertainty of what lies ahead, let us affirm some core principles that guide our collective work on our campus.

Support for Our Colleagues

As an organization dedicated to supporting faculty at UIUC, we express our solidarity with all of our colleagues across campus. Together, we find ourselves scrambling to meet the educational needs of our nearly 50,000 students who are now themselves scattered across the country in the midst of a public health emergency. Let us remind each other that we are not in this work alone. As we prepare to do our very best for our students, let us rely on each other for help, sympathy, and support.

We are all confronting the enormous challenge of facilitating a transition to online teaching by next Monday. We object to the notion that all faculty members can or must comply with immediate calls for making this transition. Effective online teaching requires significant preparation. It is unrealistic to expect that faculty can move in-person courses online quickly while still providing the quality of teaching to which we are all committed. Such a transition is especially difficult for faculty who now have to care for children whose schools have been closed and for elder relatives who are practicing social distancing and thus need help in meeting their everyday needs.

We proceed from the position that all faculty on our campus are fully committed to our students’ education and their overall welfare under these dire conditions. We thus support any faculty or executive officer who delays in responding, or refuses to respond, to administrative requests for immediate Excel tracking of class transitions to online formats.

A growing body of evidence suggests that traditional forms of teaching evaluation — such as ICES scores — fail to effectively represent the work that faculty do in the classroom, even under the best of campus conditions. The extraordinary circumstances we confront today, including the sudden imperative to change how we teach on short notice, will render Spring 2020 ICES scores even less useful.

We also call on executive officers and campus leaders to ensure that faculty’s consideration for reappointment, promotion, and related matters will not suffer on account of the time they lose due the additional care they provide or inability to make progress in their research.

Support for Our Students

As we scramble to transition to alternative modes of instruction, our campus must recognize the reality of unequal access to distance learning technology among our students. While some of our students will have the technological infrastructure required for successful distance learning at their disposal, many will not. It must not be the case that a reliable internet connection, possession of a personal computer, or facility with new tools like Zoom are now prerequisites for inclusion in UIUC’s community of learners. It is the responsibility of campus administrators to address these critical issues of student access, and to recognize that, for many of our students, online education cannot replace the in-person classroom.

For many UIUC students, this campus is home. We support the decision to keep housing and basic services available for those students who need to be here, in contrast to the immediate closures of residence halls on some other campuses. We must also recognize the considerable labor and risk that this decision entails for other members of our community, including our staff colleagues across campus.

We know that students not only call our campus home, but rely on employment — both on-campus and in the broader C-U community — to support themselves and members of their families. As a university we must do everything we can to ensure that the current public health crisis does not create further economic hardships for anyone in our community. To this end, we call on UIUC to continue paying students and other workers their full wages, even if they are unable to work or prohibited from working.

Solidarity with Other Campus Workers

As always, CFA stands in solidarity with other campus workers. We are mindful of the enormous and mounting burdens that these circumstances are placing on everyone who works at UIUC. For example, building service workers — among the most underpaid and precariously employed of our campus colleagues — are working overtime to keep all of us safe during an unprecedented public health crisis. Graduate students, faced with carrying out their teaching and research under these rapidly changing conditions, are currently in negotiations over wages with the UIUC administration. We stand with them in their efforts to ensure excellence in our campus’s working and learning conditions.

We Want to Hear From You

As with our teaching, our organizing in the midst of this crisis brings great uncertainty and new challenges. We believe that in addition to social distancing, solidarity is more essential than ever. CFA can only be as effective as our ability to hear from each other about the problems — and solutions — that emerge in our various corners of campus. Tell us what is happening in your units, what issues you face, and how we can support one another.

2019-2020 Social Justice Scholarship

The Campus Faculty Association is proud to announce that we are awarding up to five $1000 scholarships for undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to social justice in the community.

To be considered, an undergraduate must be currently enrolled as a student in good standing at the UIUC with at least one more semester of study before graduation. Preference will be given to students who will be involved in social justice activity during the period of the award.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae, a short (250 word) essay describing the student’s involvement in social justice work, and the name and contact information for one reference who can speak to the student’s record in this regard. We are currently accepting applications. All application materials are due by March 23, 2020. Awards will be announced at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.

Social justice efforts may take many forms, including volunteer and paid work. Although usually performed through the auspices of a non-profit organization, it may also involve a less formally structured activity. Whatever form it may take, such activity is not simply charity work but an effort that seeks to improve the living and working conditions for less advantaged members of the community in concrete and sustainable ways. Examples include work associated with: labor organization and strike support; patients’ rights; civil rights; housing assistance programs like Habitat for Humanity; food pantries and food delivery programs; incarcerated people’s rights and education; early childhood development programs; shelters for homeless people and domestic violence survivors; immigrant rights; and so on.

Please submit applications to campusfacultyassoc@gmail.com. All application materials should be submitted as a single .pdf file.

Statement of Support for the Chicago Teacher’s Union

The Campus Faculty Association at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign expresses its strong solidarity with the Chicago Teachers’ Union in their historic strike for educational equity in the city’s public schools.  At a moment of widespread privatization, CTU has been exemplary in defending the ideal of excellent neighborhood schools, demanding smaller class sizes and nurses, social workers, and libraries throughout the CPS system. At the same time, the teachers have wisely cast their lot with members of the Service Employees Union which includes many of the lowest paid workers in the system. This has brought them strong support not only from unions and educational experts throughout the US, but more importantly, from students and parents in Chicago’s public schools. We wish you quick success in this vital struggle for greater educational democracy.

Executive Committee, Campus Faculty Association,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2018 Social Justice Scholarship DEADLINE EXTENDED

The Campus Faculty Association is proud to announce that we are awarding up to five $1000 scholarships for undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to social justice in the community.

To be considered, an undergraduate must be currently enrolled as a student in good standing at the UIUC with at least one more semester of study before graduation. Preference will be given to students who will be involved in social justice activity during the period of the award.

Applications must include a curriculum vitae, a short (250 word) essay describing the student’s involvement in social justice work, and the name and contact information for one reference who can speak to the student’s record in this regard. We are currently accepting applications, and all application materials are due by April 16, 2019. Awards will be announced at the end of the Spring 2019 semester.

Social justice efforts may take many forms, including volunteer and paid work. Although usually performed through the auspices of a non-profit organization, it may also involve a less formally structured activity. Whatever form it may take, such activity is not simply charity work but an effort that seeks to improve the living and working conditions for less advantaged members of the community in concrete and sustainable ways. Examples include work associated with: labor organization and strike support; patients’ rights; civil rights; housing assistance programs like Habitat for Humanity; food pantries and food delivery programs; incarcerated people’s rights and education; early childhood development programs; shelters for homeless people and battered women; immigrant rights; and so on.

Please submit applications to campusfacultyassoc@gmail.com. All application materials should be submitted as a single .pdf file.

CFA 2018 Social Justice Scholarship

 

Upcoming Events on Campus

Mad Creative has invited CFA members to join them for a series of events to discuss the bombardments of trauma news around sexual violence (and other triggering topics) around gender and power. These events were put together by a group of people who are mad and thinking creatively about how to respond. Students, faculty, staff, community, everyone is invited. Please help us spread the word. Poster attached, first event is next Wednesday October 24th 7:15-9pm with pizza in Lucy Ellis Lounge, FLB.

We hope you can make it.

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Talk: Learning and Labor – The History of Labor at Illinois

Featuring comments from longtime University of Illinois workers and labor activists, as well as labor historians, this discussion will examine the history of labor on the University campus. The panel is coordinated by Daniel Gilbert, Assistant Professor in the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations – LER. The panelists will include longtime CFA leader Jim Barrett.

This talk is part of the Third Thursday Series and is held in conjunction with the Spurlock Museum’s temporary exhibit Knowledge at Work: The University of Illinois at 150. This exhibit explores the history of campus as a community of educators, researchers, and students engaged in learning, research, and public service. Learn about the contributions of a wide variety of people and groups to campus history and ways the University has changed how it relates to the people it serves. The exhibit runs through December 21, 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/events/548561865599675/

Stuart and Ed’s Excellent Adventure

By Jay Rosenstein

This past spring, two U of I Trustees set out on a secret mission to solve the seemingly unsolvable Chief Illiniwek problem once and for all. And they did it. But I doubt they’re happy with the result.

They hoped to return with Chief Illiniwek on a pedestal. Instead, they came back with his head on a stick.

Call it Stuart and Ed’s Excellent Adventure. In May, UI trustees Stuart King and Edward McMillan traveled to Miami, Oklahoma to meet with the ancestors of the original Illinois (not Illini, a made-up name) Tribe, the very Native American people who once lived on the land now occupied by the U of I at Urbana-Champaign. These are the very same people who Illinois’ Chief Illiniwek was created to honor.

It’s interesting how these Illinois Indians were discovered by the UI faithful. For many years, the U of I had declared the Illinois Indians extinct, supposedly wiped out by opposing Indians, thereby leaving the Chief Illiniwek fans guilt free.

Then, in mid 1990, an enterprising Champaign TV news station, looking for a new angle on the Chief controversy, decided to seek out the opinions of the descendants of the Illinois Indians. And low and behold, they were in fact alive. “We tracked them down,” the TV story went. They were listed in the telephone book.

Now living in Oklahoma, what remained of the members of the various tribes that once made up the original Illinois had combined into a single tribe, the Peoria. Today, the Peoria Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe of the original Illinois. The Peoria are the Illinois Indians.

Their existence wasn’t of any particular importance to the Illini faithful until 2005, when the NCAA announced sanctions against member schools with American Indian nicknames or mascots. But the NCAA later carved out an exception, allowing a school’s namesake tribe to decide the ultimate fate of the school’s nickname or mascot, done in recognition of tribal sovereignty. Therefore, as far as the NCAA is concerned, it’s the Peoria, as this area’s namesake tribe, who hold Chief Illiniwek’s fate in their hands.

That set off a constant, relentless lobbying effort (a land grab?) by every imaginable Chief-loving constituency — fans, donors, boosters, alumni, former mascot portrayers – all to gain the Peoria’s endorsement of Chief Illiniwek. The trip by UI Trustees King and McMillan was just the latest effort.

Perhaps they didn’t know any of that history when they set out on their mission. But when they arrived to discuss Illiniwek, the Peoria were prepared.

Instead of endorsing Chief Illiniwek, the Peoria responded by releasing the tribe’s most absolute and damning statement ever regarding Chief Illiniwek.

It reads in part: “The image portrayed by Chief Illiniwek does not … honor the heritage of the Peoria Tribe … and is a degrading racial stereotype that reflects negatively on all American Indian people” (emphasis mine).

It continues, “The Peoria Tribe of Indians does not endorse or sanction … Chief Iliniwek as mascot for the University of Illinois, nor do they have any future plans to rescind the tribal resolution,” and then, just to twist the knife a little deeper, “which was approved by a unanimous vote.”

And so the trustees were sent back home, the door being slammed shut and locked behind them. As far as the Peoria are concerned, discussions about Chief Illiniwek are over, for good.

What that means in Champaign is that any further debate about a future for the Chief is pointless and irrelevant. So are the opinions of the Honor the Chiefs, Save the Chiefs, Students for the Chiefs, and the Councils of Chiefs, along with, especially, the local self-appointed Native spokesmen, who always claim some vague and undocumented American Indian heritage, usually Cherokee (the REAL Cherokees of Oklahoma actually oppose mascots and the Chief). And the U of I’s new eighty-eight page “Critical Conversation Report”? Just more paper. The only opinion that counts is the Peoria, and they’ve made their final statement.

So, if Chief lovers want to hold a mock pow-wow outside the football stadium between the cornhole and the kegs, have at it. And if it makes Illini fans happy to keep throwing money at the Honor the Chief Society, then go ahead. I’m sure they’re happy to take it. But it won’t make a bit of difference.

If you want proof, just ask Trustees King and McMillan. They have Chief Illiniwek’s
Death Certificate. Delivered to them, courtesy of the Peoria. Finally.

———-

Jay Rosenstein is the producer/director of the seminal documentary about American Indian mascots, “In Whose Honor?”, a professor of Media & Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, and a member of the Campus Faculty Association

2018-2019 Officers Elected

With the vote closed and ballots counted, it is my pleasure to announce the Campus Faculty Association officers for the 2018-2019 school year:

President – Dan Gilbert is a long-time member of CFA, and has previously served as both labor representative and vice president. A cultural historian of work and working people in the modern United States, Dan is jointly appointed in the School of Labor & Employment Relations and the Department of History. He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale University, where he was active in the movement to organize a union of graduate teachers. Before coming to UIUC in 2011, Dan taught for three years at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Vice President – Zsuzsa Gille has been a member of CFA for many years. She is Professor of Sociology and Director of Global Studies. Her research focuses on environmental and food inequalities transnationally, with an emphasis on Eastern Europe. She has served in many administrative roles on campus, including as Faculty Senator. She has supported the GEOs efforts at every stage and is committed to integrating the CFA’s concerns with the Champaign-Urbana community’s wider social concerns.

Treasurer – Jeremiah Heller has been a member of CFA since joining the University of Illinois three years ago, where he is now an assistant professor in the department of mathematics. His wife is also a member of the math department and CFA. Together they have a (super energetic!) 18 month old son running around at home and creating delightful chaos. He looks forward to increasing his service to the community and the CFA by serving as treasurer.

Central Labor Council Representative – Chris Higgins is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, with affiliate appointments in the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and the Center for Translation Studies. A Resident Associate at Illinois’ Center for Advanced Study, he is co-directing a two-year initiative, “Learning Publics,” examining the role of universities, and in particular the arts and humanities, in public life. His scholarly work seeks to defend the integrity of teaching and learning in the face of instrumentalism, privatization, and other forms of corruption. His book, The Good Life of Teaching: An Ethics of Professional Practice (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011) offers one of the first systematic extensions of virtue ethics to questions concerning work and professional identity. He is the chair of the Miller Programs Committee, has served on the University Senate (including a stint on the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure), was closely involved in the Campus Conversation on Undergraduate Education, and served on both the Interdisciplinary Humanities Working Group and the Task Force on Emerging Areas in the Humanities. A member of CFA for 3 years, he has co-chaired the CFA Senate Caucus and served on ExComm. He is currently working with representatives of GEO and students from Urbana High School to explore the formation of a student union at UHS.

We in the Senate Owe Jay Rosenstein an Apology

Bruce Rosenstock

At the last Academic Senate meeting (April 30, 2018), Jay Rosenstein and several other senators (Rahul Raja, Katherine La Barre, Bruce Reznick) brought forward a resolution that would have asked “the Chancellor and Athletic Director to direct all State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium personnel, including UI police, to enforce the no-protest policy equally and by the same standard for all, including enforcing the policy with respect to unauthorized appearances by a Chief Illiniwek character in costume.” A similar, amended resolution was eventually passed.

A community member and UIUC employee, Ms. Breelyn Fay, requested floor privileges to speak in relation to the resolution on the State Farm Center no-protest policy. The result of a vote on granting her privilege to speak was 56 in favor, 55 opposed, and 5 abstentions. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, a non-member can be granted privileges to speak if a majority votes in favor of a motion to permit this privilege. Therefore, Ms. Fay should NOT have been allowed to speak. She did not receive a majority of the votes. However, no one present in the meeting, including the parliamentarian Professor George Friedman, observed that she had not achieved a majority of the vote. Instead, she was permitted to speak.

During her speech, she began in an orderly way. She argued that the “Chief Illinwek” impersonator was not protesting anything, nor were others around him protesting anything. This seemed to be a legitimate point, although one that ultimately needed to be decided by an investigation into how the word “protest” is intended to be understood by the State Farm Center policy document. In effect, her argument supported the resolution since it requires a close study of the policy in order to make sure that it will be applied fairly. But after making this point, Ms. Fay veered into what Robert’s Rules of Order call “personality.” She criticized the professional standards of Jay Rosenstein, his choice of what topics to devote his documentary filmmaker’s skill to, and a number of much more serious accusations. When the video is made available on the Senate website, everyone can watch her tirade for themselves.

Here is where we all in the Senate owe Jay Rosenstein an apology. Not one of us rose to say “point of order” or “will the speaker yield for a question?” We sat quietly as one of our fellow senators was subjected to a personal attack. Perhaps most distressingly, Chancellor Jones, the Chair of the Senate, failed to exercise his prerogative to call the speaker to order. But while the Chancellor and the parliamentarian failed to fulfill their duties under Robert’s Rules, we, the Senators present that day, also failed in our duties. We all owe Jay an apology. I hope that in the future we know better than to sit quietly when a fellow senator’s personality is attacked.

Here is the relevant passage from Robert’s Rules that we all failed to heed. Although Ms. Faye is not a member of the senate, these basic rules should have applied to her.

Article VII (Debate), section 43: In debate a member must confine himself to the question before the assembly, and avoid personalities. He cannot reflect upon any act of the assembly, unless he intends to conclude his remarks with a motion to rescind such action, or else while debating such a motion. In referring to another member, he should, as much as possible, avoid using his name, rather referring to him as “the member who spoke last,” or in some other way describing him. The officers of the assembly should always be referred to by their official titles. It is not allowable to arraign the motives of a member, but the nature or consequences of a measure may be condemned in strong terms. It is not the man, but the measure, that is the subject of debate.

Dear Jay, I am sorry that I did not object during her tirade against you. “It is not the man, but the measure, that is the subject of debate.”