Monday, April 9, 2018

To solve labor troubles, Loyola needs to live its supposed values

Picket line, by Walker Evans (Metropolitan Museum of Art) 


     Teaching is hard.
     I blundered into teaching a class at Loyola University a decade ago: a pal asked if I’d talk to his journalism students about writing celebrity profiles. Happily! I showed up, leaned on a lectern for an hour, droning on about walking 18 holes with Arnold Palmer, discussing Snoopy with Charles Schulz and watching Dizzy Gillespie play trumpet.
     “You’re good at this,” my pal said and, being a fool, I believed him. Everyone dog-paddling in the icy chop of professional journalism has an eye out for a safe harbor, so I stopped by the dean’s office to offer my services. They checked that I had a pulse and waved me aboard.
     The next thing I knew I was photocopying readings, drawing up two-hour lesson plans, then gazing at 21 slack 21-year-old faces. When a student plagiarized an assignment, boldly copying off the Internet, I called in the dean. Without going into details, let’s say I naively assumed the dean would apply discipline, and enforce the antique notion that the ability to cut and paste text undetected might not be the kind of excellence that a Loyola degree represents.
     All for a fee that I could have earned dashing off one of those celebrity profiles.
     So I don’t want to feign impartiality toward the 300 non-tenured track instructors who held a one-day strike at Loyola last Wednesday, trying to spur the university to negotiate more sincerely with Service Employees International Union Local 73.

To continue reading, click here.

10 comments:

  1. Having been raised by a very religious Catholic family, having attended Catholic grammar school and Catholic seminary high school, I have no trouble saying that the Catholic church likes to play with words, obfucscate and dominate. They protect their authority above all things. Recall in the 1980s, when it first started being reported that some priests were committing horrendous acts against children, and some victims obtained attorneys to demand compensation from the Catholic church. Unlike the mea culpae that came only when the floodgates of reporting and the ubiquity of the internet forced the Vatican to show a contrite face, these early victims faced threats and intimidation. The request of one victim that the church pay his fees for therapy was met with a demand that all his therapy records be provided to the diocese to ensure the church was only paying for therapy related to the clerical abuse this young man has suffered.

    So I am not the least bit surprised by the pharisaical posturing and bloviating coming out of Loyola's storied Jesuit leadership, nor by the rank hypocrisy of a church that preaches social and economic justice paying a non-living wage to adjunct professors it keeps in limbo every semester. After all, the Catholic church invented the myth of limbo. And the poverty of the Jesuit fathers is far more comfortable than that of the adjunct professors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Padraig, also the product of 12 years in the Chicago Catholic gulag, we could surely trade stories amusing and sad. Even though I lapsed long before my release I still valued the good that was imparted. Probably my saintly cousin the BVM mitigated my worst feelings, until Christopher Hitchens described my experience in a shocking revelation. He may have been quoting Dawkins, but claiming that the church tells you early on that you are being watched every second of your life, and at age seven they tell you it is all being written down and at your judgement, if you are found wanting, you will be thrown into a fiery pit for all eternity. Hitch called this no less than child abuse and I find no fault with that argument. The abuse scandals are ample evidence of evil in the Catholic church.

      Delete
    2. What more effective way to control the masses than to install an always-on-duty cop in the mind of each individual. All of religion is but a cynical construct designed by the elite of various cultures to keep control over the populace, in perpetuity. Anyone who fails to see the obvious nature of religion as a classic and audacious con job almost deserves the consequences of said failure. This is not to say that there are not many well-intentioned kind souls engaged in perpetrating the myths of religion. Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

      Delete
  2. Not being closely connected to academia in any way, I don't have personal experience with regard to non-tenured professors and their compensation. But from what I've heard, the skin flint approach is very much a la mode these days. Disappointing that Loyola would follow the pack, but I suppose if the HR people offered wages "not supported by the market," their jobs would be in jeopardy.

    john

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always try to figure out the clever allusion to the EGD post, or current news, or *something* being made by the photo atop the blog, sometimes unsuccessfully. But this one today is a complete stumper, though it's intriguing. No clue. Neil, care to fill us in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was me searching around for an apt photo, not finding anything, then seeing this one and thinking, to quote Molly Bloom, "as well him as another."

      Delete
    2. So, what are the potatoes providing power for?

      Delete
    3. I thought it was sweet potato networking.

      Delete
  4. Many universities are leaving instruction of undergraduates in the hands of scandalously underpaid graduate teaching assistants and adjunct professors. This cheats not only the employees, but the students, who pay top dollar for an inferior education. Meanwhile, colleges merrily hike tuition every year. Not every criticism of academe is rooted in anti-intellectualism.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As a lifelong resident of Rogers Park, it appears that Loyola is back to the bad old days before the Jesuits picked Garanzini to be president of the school. He was wonderful & brought Loyola back to realizing it was a part of Rogers Park.
    Before him, the boss was a Jesuit named Piderit & he treated Rogers Park like we all had the plague!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting.