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Long Island University-Brooklyn- Lockout

Locked Out On Labor Day: Faculty At LIU-Brooklyn Fighting For A Fair Contract And The Future Of Our Campus.

Guest blogger Deborah Mutnick is  a long-time professor at Long Island University’s Brooklyn, NY campus.

As of 12:00 a.m., Saturday, September 3, my colleagues and I were locked out of our University in the midst of contract negotiations between our faculty union and management. The letter I got from the administration told me I have “to cease performing services for the University.” Sunday morning the first thing I did—and I suspect many of my colleagues did as well—was to try my LIU email account. Locked out. The union-busting tactics we all feared have now come to pass.

The idea that faculty and students are the heart and soul of a university is in jeopardy everywhere of late, it seems, in higher education. But for the past three years, Long Island University has strayed so far from this ideal that we barely have a seat at the table anymore. The faculty and few remaining longtime staff members, who once worked together collegially, if not always efficiently and effectively, are survivors of a destructive campaign waged against us since President Kimberly L. Cline’s appointment in September 2013.

In this era of corporate-driven, administratively bloated higher education, Cline made clear from day one of her administration that she believes in “disruption.” Her first year in office, she recklessly restructured the University and brutally fired dozens of low and middle level staff members. In addition to those she fired, many longtime employees left because they were no longer comfortable working at LIU, resulting in an appalling loss of institutional memory.

Locking us out is an aggressive, hostile move on the administration’s part that “may be unprecedented,” according to the American Federation of Teachers. Although management claims it is responding to the strike authorization vote taken last May by the union, they know it is a pro forma part of the process and many successful contract negotiations have not involved strikes. READ MORE.