It’s not business as usual

I support the strike because I want my degree to be from an institution that has some sense of social justice.

President Bruininks and those in University Human Resources who keep sending me e-mails say that business will be conducted as usual on campus. Classes will still be held; services will be provided. Well, Bob, you are wrong.

Since the AFSCME strike began, I know of a few students who could not bear to cross the picket line to go into their dentist appointments after talking with the workers there. I am going to have to cancel my own appointment because I am worried that the equipment won’t be properly sanitized when I get there. I have had to travel to my local CVS to get prescriptions filled (and it has taken longer as the pharmacist there has tried to make contact with Boynton Health Service), instead of going to Boynton directly.

Business has not gone on as usual.

I have spent countless hours organizing for the strike – putting my own dissertation research on hold (luckily, my adviser understands – I can’t get access to the archives anyway). I have also spent a majority of the time in my classroom with my students talking about the strike, correcting the vague or misinformation that is out there – my students have come with the questions, and it is my job to help them understand the situation. In other words, teaching about argumentation has been put on hold; my research is put on hold. Business has not gone on as usual.

Sure, I don’t have to be on the picket lines or attending meetings about worker support. I could be “making progress on my degree.” But I also don’t want my degree to be from a university that does not offer fair wages or that cannot provide for all of its employees. I do not want a degree from a university that says that students are apathetic to the strike when it was students who charged into the Regents’ meeting. I am working to support the strike because I want my degree to be from an institution that upholds its educational mission and has some sense of social justice. Right now, that is not this University, but I, along with my students, are trying to correct this situation. Does this sound like business as usual, Bob?

Amy Pason is a University Ph.D. candidate in the department of communication studies. Please send comments to [email protected]