Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Supporting LEO; or, "What would Aslan do?"

8. December 2005 • David Boyle
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     The big LEO ad in the Daily today, lion logo on top, is just too reminiscent of Aslan from Narnia, so here we go.
     It looks like LEO is doing 15-minute teach-ins in LEO members’ classes today. (UM is unhappy about that, according to the Daily.) Regardless of the teach-in issue, LEO’s grievances seem serious (job misclassification, late pay raises, etc.), so they deserve some serious attention, despite my humorously-meant and timely Narnia tie-in.
     (Note: Arbor Update is a nonsectarian blog last time I checked, so the mention of “Aslan the Magic Lion” is not intended to privilege or promote any sect here…)

  1. Hey, that’s weird—I posted on Narnia today, too!

    How long are most U-M classes?
       —Lazaro    Dec. 8 '05 - 05:18PM    #
  2. “Too long” (heh).

    Many of them are an hour, no doubt, so that 15 min would not completely destroy the class…
       —David Boyle    Dec. 8 '05 - 07:29PM    #
  3. Seems likely to be empty threats on the part of the administration to me- it would be pretty tough to observe the thousands of sessions that could potentially be affected. And their interpretation of this action as a violation of the “no strike” clause of the contract is probably a pretty tenuous argument to take in any legal sense, but it’s still troubling.

    For decades, there’ve been similar struggles on campuses between faculty and administrators over who controls what happens in classrooms. Principles of academic freedom are supposed to protect speech on campus (including, of course, viewpoints critical of administration actions). Whether or not discussing contract implementation in class can technically be called a “strike,” I find it troubling for the admin to forbid a topic of discussion.

    I think of it as connected to increasing trends toward viewing education as a commodity, with administrators producing a product at the University. I wouldn’t claim that any perfect “community of learners” ever existed, but just being a place where diplomas are bought and sold isn’t a very inspiring vision for a public university. The admin seems to think they’ve bought a certain amount of educational product from LEO members to be deposited into their customer/students.

    In a small way, I think this action suggests an alternative, where teachers and students play the key roles, with administrators supporting . (And I don’t intend a shot at individual administrators at all, many of whom are awesome folks- just the larger changes that taking place).
       —Dave Dobbie    Dec. 9 '05 - 12:44PM    #