When I first started reading the opinion piece about how students should support faculty efforts in obtaining contracts with cost-of-living raises I was a little confused about who was even addressing me. The printed version of the article contains no byline (unlike the online version) and is listed under Our Opinion in the Perspectives section, even though it begins with a personal pronoun and is obviously written by an individual voice. The author then goes on to describe how he/she went through the library and asked multiple students if they knew about the faculty’s work-to-rule vote to which all answered “no,” and then describes how concerning it is that more students do not know anything about this issue.
Until the Feb. 4 edition of The Free Press, I too did not know much about the vote andwas rather displeased about the tone of the article. I was aware of the struggles our faculty had been facing concerning pay raises and contracts but I didn’t know many details. I think it is a bit presumptuous for any staff member at the Free Press to accuse USM students of being uninformed when there has only been one article previously published (week of Jan. 29) concerning this issue. Besides reading that one article, where else would students learn about the work-to-rule vote? Unless students work in a position where they are exposed to the administration or faculty (besides in class time) on a regular basis, it is hard to imagine where else they would come across this topic. The Free Press’ mission is to be the “definitive source of news and commentary for the USM community,” so if students are uninformed about an issue then I have to wonder if the Free Press should be taking some responsibility for that as well.
These efforts by the faculty are ones that students should certainly be aware of and I encourage them to get behind. However, I also think a major piece of this article was missing and that is the piece about how students can show their support. It’s important not to just encourage students to take action, but to also make the pathways to action available. This letter is my own personal first step and I encourage any other students who want to take a stand to sign the petition available in the Student Government Association in the Woodbury Campus Center.
– Annie Stevens, senior criminology major