Monday, September 26, 2011

Messing With Academics

*  Ohioans are still waiting for the time when Gov. John Kasich actually brings jobs to the state.  So far, only "consultants" are getting jobs as Kasich continues to try to sell off state assets.

*  The History News Network has an interesting article, The War on Higher Education, that points out the problems that Kasich and others are creating on campuses across the country.

In the wake of last year’s sweeping Republican victories in statehouses across the country, recent months have brought waves of legislation hostile to both academic unions and universities across many states.  The most prominent cases are in Ohio and Wisconsin, but nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, 820 bills have been introduced that would limit or eliminate collective bargaining rights of public workers, including university faculty.

In Ohio, Senate Bill 5 would drastically limit the ability of all public unions (police, firefighters, state workers, school teachers, and university professors among others) to negotiate for salary, benefits, and work conditions.  As a Republican senator said, testifying against the bill, it is a collective bargaining bill that does not allow for collective bargaining.  Moving rapidly through the state legislature, over one hundred pages of amendments were introduced just hours before the bill was approved.  Among the amendments was a clause that specifically targeted university professors—faculty who participate in service activities, such as search committees, promotion and tenure committees, or the Faculty Senate, would be defined as “managers” and thus ineligible for union membership.  A coalition of unions and progressive groups launched a petition drive to put the bill on referendum in November.  Needing nearly 232,000 signatures, the coalition gathered nearly 1.3 million, a record number in Ohio’s history of referendums.  Senate Bill 5 will be on the ballot in November as Issue 2 and the legislation is on hold until the vote.....

Not only are these Republicans moving to take away the working rights of teachers, police officers, nurses, fire fighters, public workers, university professors, but they could be moving in the direction of limiting academic freedom. Outspoken professors have always just plain bothered Republicans and right wing TV talking heads.

* The Speaker of the House John Boehner had declared a recess for this week for the House of Representatives.  Boehner has been busy raising funds for his Republicans.

A group of angry Texans couldn’t afford the $30,800 per person ticket to a political fundraiser Monday featuring U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, so they set up a not-so-friendly greeting for him outside an Austin high-rise.

More than 100 folks from San Antonio, Houston and Austin chanted, carried protest signs and marched around the bank building hosting Boehner’s fundraiser for several Republican congressional members, including Lamar Smith and Francisco Canseco of San Antonio.

“We don’t have $30,000 for a ticket, so we are having a little picket. That’s the only way we can let them know to pass the American Jobs Act,” said Shannon Perez of San Antonio. “We want the jobs act passed now. We are tired of the stalling.”

Do you think Boehner was rubbing elbows with some of those millionaires and billionaires he is trying to protect?