John O'Brien (JOBRIEN@UCS.INDIANA.EDU)
Thu, 2 Jun 1994 19:05:11 EST
to the point . . . yes, things are getting better . . . but that doesn't
mean that the problem is solved: far from it.
Here is a rather serious idea that come out of reviewing all of the
discourse on the list . . . on the topic of `trial by combat' and
This list, and the others which can be accessed by gopher or some other
technique on the internet provides a possibility for organization and
dissemination of ideas that is unknown in human technological history.
Were it used to full effect, it provides communication access to virtually
every academic - either directly, or indirectly through passing on
information to collegues which is derived from the list.
Professional means (in its basest form) performance of duties for
renumeration or pay.
The problem we are discussing is that renumeration and opportunity is
being withdrawn on a large scale, and controlled for whatever reasons.
It is effecting everyone to one degree or another, through the elimination
of departments to the elimination of positions to the elimination of oppor-
tunities. Established or unestablshed, academic or applied, Ph.D. or
graduate student . . . things are not what they need to be for most - though
they are for an elect few who find the current situation quite benificial.
I am curious again - second time this year - if anyone is interested in
There are afterall solutions to the problem.
First, I would like to suggest that any interested parties begin to consider
organizing a national academic shut-down, one in which all at every level
simply refuse to perform any teaching or research duties: a national strike
if you will parallel to the `blue flu' - `brain flu' if you will.
Such a program should recruit academics from all disciplines at all levels.
Theunemployed should refuse to teach part-time . . . the tenured or
should refuse to perform their duties . . . the applied should refuse to work.
History has taught us that - given this kind of organized effort - our
collective situation would change fast . . .
What is required, however, is organization . . . and it is doubtful that that
could take place through existing groups such as the AAUP (too much vested
The goal . . . as a starter . . . a 1% tuition hike to be applied to the hiring
of new faculty ( an idea born at Indiana University, where it has in fact been
put into effect ) . . . a refunding of higher education's main purpose . . .
faculty rather than buildings, grounds and administrative needs . . . and a
national campaign to counter the anti-intellectual trend that has been
encouraged in recent decades, and has taken root in the national psyche.
There are indeed solutions available to us, other than accepting the status
quo . . .