Student has Some Advice for the Vice-Chancellor
From: Daniel Elliott
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 12:38 PM
Subject: Seriously, just pay them.
I'm really getting sick of this. The teaching staff clearly deserve better pay, and this striking bullshit is really annoying. As much as it annoys me to have lectures cancelled due to strikes, I pin the blame on you and the management, not the staff. Please just pay them a decent wage and be done with it, you have the surpluses.
If you want my thoughts, take a pay cut yourself and re-direct the money to the NTEU, all of a sudden you're the good guy! Do you really need a million per year? The media will cover you, the NTEU will praise you, the students will consider you a champion. Surely it cannot be news to you that UQ has a great undercurrent of leftist sympathies and thought and it would seem to me that taking a million a year while the workers wages stagnate is hardly going to win you a popularity contest. In light of the events of recent history, one cannot help but make subconscious parallels to the infamous corporate executives taking millions for gutting countries, corporations and institutions as they force hundreds of millions of workers worldwide either out of their jobs or into severe pay cuts. The analogy need not even be apt to be powerful and resonant in the minds of your students and the community, for it is one we have become attuned to hear and you may depend on it that you will find ignoring such trends dangerous.
The feelings of sympathy and solidarity are doubled and trebled by the facts that it is the staff with whom the students have their bonds, friendships and fondnesses, not you of the faceless management, and that many of us seriously contemplate or at least indulge fantasies of working in academia one day. It is said that to empathise with someone you must walk a mile in their shoes, the implication being that it is nearly impossible to not derive some level of understanding from doing so. If you underpay and mistreat your staff, you had better hope that you do not find your customers observing the blisters and winces of pain suffered by those who wear them currently, especcially if they intended to wear them themselves someday. In short, students are not attracted to scholarship when they see stressed, underpayed academics for the same reason that prospective entrepreneurs are discouraged by seeing a bankrupt.
Please, just pay your staff. They deserve it, the students support it and you can afford it. No one benefits from this stalemate, and in the face of all this strike-action, dissatisfaction and unpopularity, thoughts may arise that perhaps there may be out there another person willing to shuffle paper and antagonise the staff for $20,000 a week.