The photo at left was taken during picketing of the November 1999 BHE meeting at Bridgewater. I returned for more of the same on December 5, 2000, with little change in the intervening year. If photos of the more recent meeting become available, I will post them here.
As members of the Board entered the December 2000 meeting, I was able to provide a few of them with my web address, so that they could see both the wonderful work that is being done in the state colleges and the great frustration that some of us have with the ongoing bargaining stalemate. I look forward to hearing from those board members in the future.
Mr. Tocco allowed MSCA's President-elect Dr. Patricia Markunas to speak. He was cordial and his tone was respectful of faculty, but he attempted to stake out high ground by urging MSCA not to make this dispute public. This was a shocking request from a public official, but so far we have often been only to willing to comply.
So far, the dispute between MSCA and BHE has received relatively little media attention. In my opinion, a change in this regard is long overdue. The faculty want the public to provide competitive salaries for faculty while maintaining academic freedom. The Board of Higher Education has advocated that the public continue to provide low salaries and reduce academic freedom in the state colleges. Since both side purport to act on behalf of the public, neither should be afraid to articulate its views in public.
The case for academic freedom (tenure) is very easy to make, philosophical considerations aside. If meaningful tenure is awarded to high-performing faculty in state universities and private colleges, it has to be awarded to high-performing faculty in public colleges if working-class students are not to be short-changed. Many of the documents included on my "Under Attack" web site make other arguments in support of decent pay and academic freedom in state colleges.
The BHE should not be given any private places
in which to continue the systematic dismantling of public higher education.