At this point, it’s been six days since Long Island University locked out the faculty at its Brooklyn Campus. The Long Island University Faculty Federation (LIUFF), our faculty union, had been negotiating with the university all summer. The LIUFF wanted to begin early, but the university administration dragged its feet. On September 2, I received a FedEx parcel with a document detailing the “generous” concessions that LIU was offering. It also said that I’d be locked out of campus as of 12:01 AM September 3, 2016. What that meant was that I wouldn’t be allowed on campus and not allowed to teach my graduate students. I wouldn’t have access to my email or other university accounts. I’d be assessed a per diem fee for not working. My health insurance policy for my wife, my daughter and myself would be cancelled…Access to my email was terminated as of 12:02 on September 3. At 12:03, I began to apply for unemployment.
Initially, a lot of people assured me that this was just a bluff; this is how business is done – empty threats to distract people from the real issues. In the past, when the LIUFF had negotiated with LIU, there were always threats on both sides. But this time, the university elevated this issue to a personal level.
The campus is rife with the angst of upperclassmen who fear for the future of the institution in which they have invested significant amounts of time, energy and money. Incoming freshmen are filled with uncertainty as they vacillate between switching schools. The administrative staff were forced into a morally compromising decision between standing in as a replacement, or facing termination. Students are organizing and taking preventive measures to ensure an incident like this never occurs again. There are small engagements between friends and strangers alike, meetings to discuss how to prevent a second lockout. Cline’s actions have watered the seeds of activism on campus as the LIU-Brooklyn student body positions itself as a force to be reckoned with come May 2017 – the next faculty contract negotiation cycle. The students have won a battle against Cline, but they are not so disillusioned as to believe they have achieved full victory. They are fully aware that as long as Cline remains in office, their education at LIU-Brooklyn remains threatened.
Bronx/Manhattan, New York, September 24th 2016. Activists in New York have organised a solidarity rally in the city to coincide with Dublin’s March for Choice. As part of Scarlet Brigade’s Global Gathering, pro-choice Irish ex-pats and New York residents will come together to show their support for the Repeal the 8th campaign in Ireland.
Last year, the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based organization that “…helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster,” was able to help more than 23 million people—providing healthcare, educational opportunities, and financial support, among other things. Now other groups across the country are joining the struggle.