Thursday is MUNACA family day and a number of profs got together to talk about other stuff we should be doing (full disclosure–I wan’t at the meeting but support the decision).
I would definitely join in and cancel class Thursday, if I hadn’t already cancelled class on my syllabus for a preplanned trip (I’ll be in Princeton, then on to Sussex and Berlin–click the “world tour” link for details).
But this is an excellent opportunity for faculty to talk at length with their students about what’s going on, why it matters, and what can be done. If you’re at a loss for words, consider having an undergrad who’s involved in strike support come and talk with your students.
Here’s the letter that went out from MFLAG:
Yesterday a number of faculty members from a variety of departments at McGill came together to contemplate the current strike situation, and discuss ways in which the faculty as a whole could support our co-workers who are on strike, and the university community more broadly.
Our focus was the glaring fact that it’s not “business as usual” at McGill, and we discussed how students are being hurt and research is being negatively impacted. In addition, unreasonable demands are being placed on the faculty (and many “M” class employees!), who are being asked to do things that are beyond what we were hired to do, that could be illegal (i.e., actually the domain of the admin staff), and that are unethical because they allow the university administration to prolong the strike.
We decided to call for a day of support next Thursday, October 20th. I appreciate that we may have differing views on the demands the strikers have made. Nevertheless I think that both we, and our students could all benefit from reflecting upon the role of a university, what this says regarding how it should be governed, and relating this concretely to the current situation on campus. Indeed, all of us present at the meeting agreed that we have a duty as members of the academic community to do so, and a duty as teachers to our students to have an opportunity to consider such important issues.
The day is this Thursday. Just a day to reflect on the impacts of the strike with students and our colleagues. One could spend one’s class time discussing these issues with them, or simply cancel the class to give them time to reflect in larger groups about these issues. The day is coinciding with a “Family Day” which campus unions and other groups have organized for the children of MUNACA strikers. Faculty may also wish to walk the picket lines with our striking co-workers.
This Thursday, a large number of cancelled classes would send a strong message of support to the staff. It would also send a clear message to the university administration that the situation on campus is no longer workable, and we need a fair resolution to this strike without delay.