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'Gutting the University': No End in Sight for Unprecedented LIU Faculty Lockout


'Gutting the University': No End in Sight for Unprecedented LIU Faculty Lockout

Nika Knight, staff writer

The Friday before Labor Day, mere days before classes were due to start, the Long Island University (LIU) campus in Brooklyn took the unprecedented step of locking out its faculty—"in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations and in the absence of a strike, apparently in order to coerce faculty members into accepting the administration's last offer," as the American Association of University Professors


Man, if I'd just paid $40,000 for a year's tuition, and the administration pulled something like this, I'd be filing suit for fraud and demanding my money back, with penalties. And since LIU's top brass is all about the almighty dollar, that, one might think, would get their attention. A class action appears to be in order.


The stunningly delicious irony of ideological adherence of Cline to the [educational ?] 'end-product' in the rut of a system - having nothing to do with education - that is itself in such precipitous conceptual decline as to be postmortem in all but name. A shattered mirror with each fragment polished to prefect (sic) reflection. A most appropriate metaphor for our times, which of course are not 'our times' but something hauled forward with an especial heaping up all of its rot from centuries of fraud in the finance sector. The image Cline hands to the country is is just too delicious.


Sometimes, the grievances of people are more -- extend more -- to more than just the law, extend to a whole mode of arbitrary power, a whole mode of arbitrary exercise of arbitrary power.

And that's what we have here. We have an autocracy which -- which runs this university. It's managed. We were told the following: If President Kerr actually tried to get something more liberal out of the Regents in his telephone conversation, why didn't he make some public statement to that effect? And the answer we received -- from a well-meaning liberal -- was the following: He said, "Would you ever imagine the manager of a firm making a statement publicly in opposition to his Board of Directors?" That's the answer.

Well I ask you to consider -- if this is a firm, and if the Board of Regents are the Board of Directors, and if President Kerr in fact is the manager, then I tell you something -- the faculty are a bunch of employees and we're the raw material! But we're a bunch of raw materials that don't mean to be -- have any process upon us. Don't mean to be made into any product! Don't mean -- Don't mean to end up being bought by some clients of the University, be they the government, be they industry, be they organized labor, be they anyone! We're human beings!

And that -- that brings me to the second mode of civil disobedience. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!!

-- Mario Savio, Sit-in Address on the Steps of Sproul Hall,
delivered 2 December 1964, The University of California at Berkeley


Good point, SteveWoodward. The university catalog lists the faculty for each department and program, and the students have a right to be taught by those professors. If the administration reneges, pulls the old "bait-and-switch" and replaces the faculty with scabs, the students should stop attending classes and demand their money back. Let Cline lock out the students as well! A common strategy during the Viet Nam era was for students to occupy the administration building. President Cline is obviously over-challenged by her administrative position -- she thinks she's Ronald Reagan breaking the air traffic controllers union -- and she needs to be demoted back to the classroom where she can get first-hand knowledge of what it's like to live as a faculty member at LIU.


There are two stories here:
The first one is the operation of a university as a two-fisted capital generator for its management whose primary goal is to "grow the busine$$"
The second and equally important story is the commodification of education as a tangible thing to be purchased by its students (the ultimate passport to middle class respectability and guarantor of a "nice paying job").
The first story can trace its origins back to WWII and the cultivation of university faculty and students by the government to do research related to the war effort. Of course after "unconditional surrender" was achieved the "war effort" continued with new enemies to conquer and new government dollars to fund research towards that end.
The second story can trace its origins to the end of WWII and the dilemma facing Washington of what to do with approximately 10 million military personnel due to be mustered out of service due to formal hostilities ceasing.
Industry had become efficient enough that it didn't have enough jobs to occupy that many reentering the workforce and nobody wanted to face a reprise of the great depression of the 1930's. So it was decided to send as many as they could to college at government expense. It would keep them occupied while someone figured out what to do with that many better educated people. The upshot of all this was that college transformed itself from a place where people followed and sought "the truth' wherever it lead to a job
certification program. These changes all funded and paid for by the government.
These twin developments are reflected in the above story and show the moral bankruptcy of both educators and students as reflected by the quote from Mario Savio at the UC Berkley insurrection quoted above.


Huh? She wants the school to bring in more money, so she locks out faculty, which will inevitably result in a decimation of enrollment. Looks like the janitor was teaching business classes when she was an undergrad, too.


This behavior, I would think, will leave a very bad feeling behind for students and faculty -- it says this
university and it's board -- (whomever put Kline in place) -- has some pretty nasty intentions towards its
students and faculty. And some really corrupt ideas about the education they are supposed to be delivering.

And the AFT teachers union endorsed Hillary -- so the university knows their future will also be in the hands
of the pro-corporatists in the new administration. Thought it was rather nuts of the AFT when I first read about it
and hope they are rethinking it now.

Aside from that, we've had more than three decades of colleges/universities being corporatized. Think BU for
one excellent example of that. Put a president in who's only concern was raking in $$$ and increasing the
university's real estate. Instead of protests, we've had parents and students putting themselves into even more
debt in order to gain entry into these expensive colleges.

Don't want to sound as though I'm assigning blame to teachers, or students. Unions are another question as
often they get co-opted by corrupt leadership.

And corporate-fascism marches on.


Cline may have degrees/diplomas but throughout her "education" and professional experience, she lost sight of the purpose of PUBLIC education...it is not to make a profit but to provide learning opportunities for all students. The bad publicity and obstreperous behavior on her part tarnish the university's reputation, violate any number of labor laws and state/federal education tenets, and abrogate the university's purpose and mission statement. Where is the board of regents that brought on this monstrous president? May Cline be deposed and banned from ever acting in any administrative capacity in any PUBLIC education institution at any level. Her ethics and actions are better suited for employment with JP Morgan Chase or Goldman Sachs where she would be elevated to sainthood.


Jill Stein gets it:


How did the University end up with a Hard Right Repu7blikan in charge, anyway?

Doesn't that go against the Right Wing claim that all Universities are run by a gang of bleeding heart Liberals?

Well, Except for T-Rump University and ITT Tech, that is...


so very very well put poet...spot ON!


They seem to enjoy cutting off their nose to spite their face


I just was charged $800 for my monthly tuition, they had no trouble deducting that from my checking account ,while i sit in an empty classroom i am going into nursing i am in chem right now with no prof what happens if i cannot take thses courses and have to retake them will i be reimbursed for a semester of nothing ?? Maybe its time for me to speak to an attorney


LIU is one of several very expensive and academically inferior colleges in the NYC area that should have long since gone out of business. Having taught as an adjunct in both the CUNY and private systems in NYC, I'd say that the academic standards at places like LIU are far lower. BUT LIU! Adelphi, Pace etc. offer great scheduling. weekend classes, and a wide variety of needed classes every term, and a chance to take an Incomplete and finish up course work at your convenience. All this really matters if you are working full time and going to college, like all of my students. CUNY, in contrast, is absolutely indifferent to student needs and, if anything, a harsh and unforgiving environment. As to this lockout, it is just a case of LIU owners not wanting to lose out on a Very lucrative business environment.


Unfortunately between the austerity smitten right and the neoliberal left the government is no longer handing out grants and other funds to our institutions of higher learning. This coincides with the bald fact that a college degree pulls about as much weight today as a high school diploma did in the fifties.


Another instance of planned obsolescence!~ By the time your grandchildren grow up everyone will need to have PhD degrees to matter. Gradually as a society we will kearn more and more about less and less until we know everything about nothing. (a very zen concept--no?)


I am yet to be convinced that my two grand children will grow up into a world that has much use for PHDs. As a matter of fact we may well hope that they retain the concept of zero.