The Council of UC Faculty Associations has endorsed the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE). CFHE has released the following statement of support for public employees in Ohio:
An injury to one is an injury to all. So, too, with a victory for one. We are ALL Ohio. The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) applauds the people of Ohio for: Rejecting the unfair and mean spirited scapegoating of public employees who work serve, save, and teach us; Turning back the unprecedented and punitive attack on public employees’ longstanding rights to collectively bargain; and supporting the central significance and value of public employees to the community. In voting to repeal Senate Bill 5 Ohio’s voters have struck a blow for fairness, for working people, and for our country’s future.
The CFHE (http://futureofhighered.org/) also applauds the unusually broad coalition that formed “We are Ohio”:tTeachers and professors working alongside police and firefighters; blue collar with white collar, and private sector alongside public sector unions; and grandmothers alongside students, community groups, and many, many more. As a campaign initiated by grass roots faculty labor leaders, allied with student and other groups, the CFHE particularly salutes the Ohio conference of the American Association of University Professors, the Ohio Education Association, and the Ohio Federation of Teachers for working together and demonstrating that educators have important common (money, time, people) and distinctive (providing legislative testimony, writing op-eds, and exercising voice in the public arena) contributions to make in working shoulder to shoulder with other unions and groups. By working together we can reverse the tide and map a new and brighter future for the country.
We are ALL Ohio, which is but one of many states in which governors and legislators have: Denigrated and demonized public employees, our neighbors and family members; sought to persuade us that these middle and working class workers, and not Wall Street financial institutions were responsible for tanking the country’s (and states’) economy; and attacked peoples’ rights in ways that renege on and compromise the nation’s promise. To those who want to turn back the clock to a time of no rights for workers, we say that our country’s strength has come from expanding rights, not taking them away. That conviction is at the core of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, beginning with the idea that all who can benefit from and want it should have access to a quality, affordable higher education.
The victory in repealing SB 5 is but a first step, for all of us. Continued challenges exist and will develop in Ohio and beyond. Our academic colleagues in Ohio, for example, will now take on Chancellor Petro’s Enterprise University Plan which seeks to further privatize public universities in Ohio to the detriment of the public, shifting the burden of costs even more to students already crushed by student debt, opening up public lands and institutions to private exploitation, and promoting construction “reform” that would allow universities to build facilities without paying a prevailing wage to construction workers. We call on all academic managers to shift their focus and institutional resources back to where they belong, to the core academic missions and to the educational and public needs of the 99% in the communities/states in which they are situated.
More than such responses in Ohio and beyond, to defend public higher education: Now is the time to take the offensive, to build on the example of We are Ohio; Now is the time in higher education to improve working conditions and expand bargaining rights of part-time and contingent faculty, graduate employees, and postdocs whose structure of employment compromises the quality of education and research that can be conducted and provided; and now is the time to develop proposals for generating new revenues to educate another 50% of the population, for providing students and families with tuition and debt relief, and for strategically investing new monies in ways that enhance the academy’s core, public academic missions. We educate, we serve, we are the 99%.
We are ALL Ohio.