Teachers stand up for cause, call for academic awareness

Pulse Editor and Pulse Editor

Instead of chanting and waving signs like other protesters, members of the faculty association did one of the jobs they do best — graded papers.

The association hosted a “grade-in” Friday outside of the Union to show support for their organization, and to raise awareness on the progress of its collective bargaining contract with the University.

“We’re having the faculty out here to demonstrate to the administration it’s time for them to take education seriously,” said David Jackson, president of the faculty association. “It’s time to invest in education.”

Investing in education would include reaching a finalization of the contract between the University and administration, which ideally would have already been completed this past July, he said.

“We’ve had a faculty union at BGSU for two years and we still don’t have a contract,” Jackson said. “We’re here to make a point and that point is visibility.”

The teachers were visible as more than 30 of them gathered at tables to grade papers and educate passers-by about their cause.

“We encouraged teachers to come out with the papers they have to grade,” he said. “We’re not going to chant or ring bells.”

Faculty Association member Maisha Wester said she came out to the grade-in to make a stand for what she believes in.

“We’re here to show the administration we’re not going to stand by and take anything,” she said. “Compared to other universities, there’s a lot of benefits we don’t have.”

Those lack of benefits may include lower average salaries teachers and high salaries for administrators, Jackson said.

“It makes me sad that there’s so much disparity,” Wester said. “I want to see more transparency in University spending.”

Students, such as the ones who stopped by the grade-in to pick up pamphlets and handouts, may also be affected by the future contract.

“You guys are getting charged more and more each year,” Wester said. “Let’s retain great students by retaining great teachers.”

Member Lynda Dixon, who brought her syllabus to work on, said the University is one of her favorite places to teach and was excited to be present at the grade-in to help make it better.

“A lot of blood was shed to have the right to be in a union,” she said. “How dare I not participate?”

Right now, the University is operating like it is a business, instead of an educational facility, she said.

“I don’t think of my students as customers,” Dixon said.

Faculty Association members said they hoped this grade-in would speed along the contract process on the University’s side.

The University is continuing negotiations, said University spokesperson Dave Kielmeyer.

“We continue to negotiate in good faith while reaching an agreement,” he said.

After the grade-in, faculty walked over to the University Board of Trustees meeting to address the group’s concerns.

“The Board needs to realize we represent all faculty,” Jackson said. “We’re going to walk out as a group and demonstrate that to them.”

One of the goals of the grade-in was to get the board to evaluate its actions.

“I still remain hopeful,” Wester said. “We are all in this for the same reason.”