Op-Ed: In the UC strike, professors can’t keep up with grading. Students will suffer, too
As I’m writing this article, the UC’s administration and faculty are continuing its strike over union recognition, the right to strike and collective bargaining. I’m about to give my first “op-ed” on this subject. As we’ve seen, when the U.S. gets embroiled in a political struggle, and especially when that struggle is one that strikes at the very core of American democracy, faculty and students suffer for those who have no voice.
I’m a history professor. In the last 22 months, I’ve written two full-length book chapters, two short essays and two longer articles. Some of my academic work has been published. Some of my work has not.
I am no pacifist. As many of my fellow professors of history know, I taught this subject as a professor for the past 22 years. In my classes, I regularly challenged students to take on the role of fighters for what they believe in, and to ask tough questions of those who told them otherwise. In two of my class assignments, I asked my students to write essays “concerning the future of human rights.” One week after the class ended, my students’ essays were returned marked “C.” They were graded by their former classmates, who, along with many of their friends, had shared copies of the essays on Facebook and used their comments as a springboard for additional discussion. The professors who made the C’s on the other three assignments had not been so generous.
The UC administration wants us to believe that the strike started with the decision to allow faculty and students to carry our own signs at various points during the past month. The administration has decided that the best way to get people to care about what is happening in the classroom is to create a spectacle.
I have written elsewhere about the need to engage in a vigorous