“Steven Salaita: U. of I. destroyed my career”

From the Chicago Tribune comes the latest in this ongoing saga, an op-ed written by Steven Salita, “U of I destroyed my career.” It is a short and articulate column where (and as far as I know the first time) Salita publicly explains the tweets that got him unhired from the University of Illinois.

I am kind of torn by this. I agree with the position that criticizing Israel (for example, it’s recent military actions in Gaza) is not the same as being anti-Semitic, and it is true that Twitter as a format/platform is a “medium that is designed to be quick and sometimes cutting.” And as an academic-type, I’m in the same camp as those generally calling for his reinstatement.

On the other hand, as I have written about here and on my own blog before, I do think there ought to be some logical limit to the protections of tenure in terms of one’s ability to say and do anything. Like many people/entities who become poster children for free speech and the ACLU and the like (for example, “2 Live Crew” way WAY back when, marching Klan folks, etc.), I’m not all that comfortable defending Salita’s views on the world generally. And if you have to write a column to defend and explain the tweets that got you unhired in the first place, you might be doing something wrong.

Still, an important and thoughtful essay worth the read.

Nice to see all the attention of U of M football circling the drain for a change of pace

You can’t throw a virtual brick out of a virtual window without hitting a story about the woes of the University of Michigan’s football team this weekend. As an Iowa alum/fan (they beat Purdue Saturday, btw) but as a “Michigander” based on the fact that I’ve been here for 16 years now, I have a mixture of glee, sympathy, distress, and apathy. I know that seems possible, but there you have it.

One nice thing (the glee part, I guess) about all of this is it is a misdirection from the silliness of the EMU football team. But there’s a good analysis by Jeremy Rosenberg over at Eagle Totem called “Brandon’s Failure at Michigan a Warning for Lyke.” Rosenberg’s argument is that UM Athletic Director David Brandon is screwing up royally by further corporatizing athletics generally and football in particular, and he’s afraid that EMU AD Heather Lyke is trying to imitate that here.

I’ll say this: I was unaware until reading Rosenberg’s piece that U of M is so desperate to keep that 100,000 fans at each game streak alive that you can get a free ticket for a couple of Cokes. That’s kinda sad. At the same time, if EMU had a similar promotion, I’d buy a couple of sodas and take in a game.

And now, some Emus Dancing

Kind of on the slow-side in terms of news and events heading into the weekend. so I thought I’d share a video of “Emus dancing,” though it is more like “Emus twitching about with a soundtrack added by someone else.”

“Ypsilanti Jimmy John’s among 216 stores affected by security breach”

In local/near campus sandwich news, “Ypsilanti Jimmy John’s among 216 stores affected by security breach.” So if you used a credit card to get yourself a sandwich and a bag of chips back in June and July, you might want to check your statement.

“The EAA Exposed: An investigative report”

Via Facebook, I came across “The EAA Exposed: An Investigative Report” in Detroit’s alternative news weekly metrotimes. It’s a long and frankly kind of confusing piece to me, but the basic argument is the EAA has been (and continues to be?) deep in the pockets of some “edu-preneur” software companies with no good results. I thought this quote was interesting:

The legal loophole through which the EAA slipped into being is a little-used state law that allows two units of government, acting in cooperation, to create a third public entity. It this case, it was Detroit Public Schools (DPS) — under the control of a Snyder-appointed emergency manager — and the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, the majority of whom are gubernatorial appointees, that entered into what’s called an inter-local agreement that created the EAA.

It is overseen by an 11-person board, with the governor appointing seven members and EMU and the DPS’s emergency manager each selecting two more.

And so this became the test of a completely new system of schooling.

It turned out to be another kind of test as well.

A test of software, developed by one for-profit corporation and marketed by another.

A product namedBuzz.

I’ll come back to read it in more detail later, but it looks interesting. By the way, I’m still curious about news from the BoR meeting about the EAA.

“New TRUEMU campaign ‘Elevating Communities, Inspiring Generations’ to showcase research at Eastern Michigan University”

From The Ypsilanti Courier comes news about the “New TRUEMU campaign ‘Elevating Communities, Inspiring Generations’ to showcase research at Eastern Michigan University.” Or: the new light-post signs are here! the new light-post signs are here!

I kid, but I think it’s a nice campaign (though I’m still not sure how to pronounce truemu), and I know most of the folks on this group of posters, including my wife, and I applaud EMU engaging in a marketing campaign that actually focuses on faculty and the kind of educational opportunities we have here, rather than on focusing on the football team or comfy dorms or whatever.

These posters will also be convenient to stand under if we end up picketing or going on strike if contract negotiations go sour.

“Too Many Campus Alerts?”

This was from last week’s Chronicle and it was behind the firewall (oh, I have my ways…), but I thought I’d post at least a link and a quote:  “Too Many Campus Alerts?” A quote:

Campus officials and people who sell those systems know they have a problem. “You don’t want the whole car-alarm syndrome. When you hear a car alarm, you just walk on by because you hear them all day,” says Ara Bagdasarian, chief executive officer of E2 Campus by Omnilert, an emergency-alert system used by about 850 colleges across the nation.

Scott G. Burnotes, director of emergency management at the University of Miami, says he can understand the students’ frustrations, but he’s quick to note the university’s larger concerns.

“We cannot just rely on one type of technology. We can’t just rely on text. There are technology failures,” Mr. Burnotes says. “To get people to take action, individuals need to hear something from at least three different sources. That’s why we hit them with the text. That’s why we hit them with the call. That’s why we hit them with the email.”

It strikes me as kind of a damned if you do/damned if you don’t situation. On the whole, too many alerts is better than too few, even if they are kind of annoying.

Is this a “pop-up” anti-choice protest? Or did EMU approve this?

IMG_2333

 

I’m not sure how good of a photo this is (I took it from the sixth floor in Pray-Harrold), but it looks like there’s a anti-choice protest going on outside where there are two people (I have no idea if they are students or not), a man and a woman, who have set up lots of little pink crosses, a table, and a banner. It has a bit of a look of a “pop-up” and unauthorized demonstration, too.

Anyone know anything about this?

“Campus Cops vs. University Professors:” A story about faculty protests at WMU

A loyal reader sent me this from the Daily Kos blog, “Campus Cops vs. University Professors.” It’s a long piece that kind of wanders around a lot, but the basic story is about faculty at Western Michigan University protesting as they were negotiating a new contract earlier in the month.

One thing led to another and it kind of sounds like some administrator got a little panicky when a group of about 200 faculty decided to march into the public space of the administration building, and the campus cops who showed up did a bit too much pushing and shoving. It’s not like things spun completely out of control with tear gas or whatever, but it sounds like it was a little tense and the police were far less from professional. For those of us who have seen/been in past faculty rallies or protests from past contract negotiations, it’s kind of an interesting read.

The good news is it would appear that the faculty at WMU did settle on a contract. Here’s a PDF from the WMU AAUP that summarizes it. In my skimming of it, it looks like they got a not great but pretty decent deal.

Board of Regents Holding Special Meeting About EAA on September 22, 3pm-5pm in 205 Welch Hall

I just received an email from EMU-AAUP President Howard Bunsis where he mentions a meeting announcement in the EMU-AAUP Newsletter. My first thought about all that was “there’s an EMU-AAUP Newsletter?”

But the more significant issue here: there’s going to be a special meeting of the EMU Board of Regents about the EAA on Monday, September 22, from 3pm to 5pm in 205 Welch Hall. Here’s what the newsletter says about this:

As many of you know, the EMU administration agreed to be part of the Educational Achievement Authority, which took  over the management of several Detroit Public Schools.  Besides doing this without faculty input, there are numerous problems with the EAA, which you can read at:

http://emuprofessors.org/attachments/EAA%20Not%20Rea
dy%20for%20Expansion%20flyer%20revised.pdf

Up to this point, we have tried various ways to convince the  EMU administration to completely sever ties with the EAA. Now, we have a real chance to make our case: On September 22th, EMU faculty members will get to make the case before the Board of Regents in a special meeting that  will deal only with the EAA. Welch 205.

The EMU-AAUP and Faculty Senate are working together to identify who will represent the faculty, as well as work with the College of Education faculty to identify any students who can make also support our position. Maybe the tide is changing on this issue.

As Bunsis says in his email, “this meeting, like all Board meetings, is open to the public, so please come and support your colleagues.” I’ll actually be teaching, but of course I’ll post whatever news comes out of this here.