Letters to the Editor: How UC has exploited the student academic workers on strike
This is exactly what UC is doing in its bargaining with the union in the ongoing strike over the university administration’s response to UC’s decision to require the teaching to “be done collaboratively and not as part of a class”. The union’s demand is that the teaching would be as if it were a class, and the administration’s response will be that it has no plans to change this policy. The administration’s response is not only the wrong response, but is also precisely what the union wants.
Teaching at UC is a collaborative and diverse enterprise that has evolved over the years to meet the needs of many students. As such it has come to incorporate many methods, from lecture to discussion to project work and service-learning to independent study, to get students engaged in their own learning. Many faculty members, in fact, have found that the most satisfying aspect of teaching is their involvement in the lives of their students.
The academic workers’ fight is simply to preserve this aspect of UC teaching. It’s as old as UC itself. For over a century students have not only been lecturing in class but also debating and composing papers, engaging in research and writing literary reviews, and participating in service projects. UC has been teaching in this collaborative way since it started in the late 19th century, and it will continue to do so while it is under union contract.
The academic workers’ fight is not against education, but against those whose mission is the destruction of the university in every way and in ways that harm the students that UC serves. This effort to undermine the traditional and necessary role of teaching at UC by requiring students to work collaboratively with fellow students is part of that effort. That it is directed at the teaching of English rather than any particular method of teaching has been the source of most of the criticism, and indeed has been the driving force behind most of the recent attempts to weaken the union.
This is how the union’s battle