"We have names for people who fill the jobs of striking union workers: strikebreakers, replacement workers, scabs. But what to call the people who take the jobs of union members who aren’t striking? Certainly not “professor.” Starting September 7, the first day of the fall semester at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus, classes will be taught entirely by non-faculty members—not because the faculty are on strike, but because on the Friday before Labor Day the administration officially locked out all 400 members of the Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF), which represents full-time and adjunct faculty."
University presidents are certainly faced with tough decisions and each of them walk in facing a plethora of existing problems. LIU's president, Kimberly Cline, was faced with the challenge of handling a credit rating that was close to reaching junk status. Her reaction, however, is largely viewed as an attempt to "corporatize and monetize the university." Just after her appointment, hundreds of administrative support positions were vacated or laid-off. Now her focus is on faculty. Negotiations with the Long island University Faculty Federation and four other Unions, including secretarial, carpenters, engineers and maintenance, as well as janitorial are all going downhill. When the administration presented its last offer - before the membership even had an opportunity to vote on it - they also informed them that the faculty would be locked out in anticipation of a strike. The school immediately "cut healthcare, salary, and access to email and students."
Where qualified faculty once stood, students will now find administrators in some of those positions. The school's chief legal counsel will be instructing Hatha Yoga and one of the deans, in his late 70s, may be taking over ballet classes. Students are rightfully up in arms about forking over huge tuition prices for what amounts to an absurd facsimile of the education they were promised. Their concerns and complaints are more than valid. I have the deepest sympathies for those graduate students who are no longer allowed to work with the advisers they have come to know and trust. I can only imagine the impact this might have on their scholarly career paths.
More importantly, what does this say about the future of higher education? This reeks of an abuse of power by an administrator(s) who believe the bottom line rests in a financial statement rather than with the quality of education provided. This lockout is most likely a move to push tenured faculty out and eventually replace them with newer professors working on the lower end of the pay scale and with less bargaining power. We need the AAUP and AFT to take stronger action towards supporting collective bargaining. The real test will be to see how this affects accreditation - it probably won't in the long run, but withholding that stamp of approval until the school is staffed with fully qualified faculty could go a long way towards making a statement about what standards higher education is most meant to promote.