Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Red Emma in the News: Solidarity Forever, Baby


Red Emma would tell you that he never wanted to be poster boy (or girl) for this particular issue, but there his mug is, leading a Change.org petition with the alarming headline: Approve paid medical leave for UC Irvine lecturer's emergency brain surgery.

Sheesh, as Chunk might say.

That's a no brainer, as Red himself, lover of puns, might quip.

But UCI, Red's longtime employer, thinks otherwise.

Gabriel San Román of the OC Weekly offers this comprehensive overview of the situation:

PETITION: GIVE UCI LECTURER PAID MEDICAL LEAVE AFTER BRAIN SURGERY!
Andrew Tonkovich, a longtime Weekly contributing writer almost since this infernal rag’s hatching, is doing okay enough after emergency brain surgery. He kept a scheduled appearance at Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach last night despite feeling fatigued–talk about dedication! While the Tonk, who also hosts Bibliocracy Radio on KPFK-LA 90.7 FM, can still show up to take part at the college library’s distinguished author lecture series, complications from the procedure call for more recovery time away from work.
And the biggest post-op headache is coming courtesy of UC Irvine. That’s where Tonkovich lecturers at the Department of English and has taught for 22 years. But Peter the Anteater has denied him paid medical leave–not once, but twice–during his current health troubles.
Being a longtime activist alongside all his literary antics, Tonkovich has now become the cause. An online petition addressed to UCI administrators is demanding that he be given paid medical leave that the University Council-American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) fought for workers like him to have for starters. The union that’s pushing the petition towards 5,000 signatures is also decrying the university’s attempt to clawback his salary and their contributions to his health insurance premiums from last summer since he can’t work this term.
That, friends, is called insult to injury.
It’s also the drain of neoliberalism that universities across the state are circling down while wanting to establish it as the new normal. Currently battling for a new contract, UC-AFT sees Tonkovich’s dilemma as part and parcel what they’re up against.
“Andrew’s story is just one part of the bigger picture of contingent faculty labor,” the petition states. “He represents the type of scholar-teacher who can make a difference in thousands of students’ lives if permitted to have a long-term career at the UC. And his story illustrates the crushing callousness and contempt with which UC admin treats many lecturers.”
Tonkovich: get well, soon! In the meantime, the Weekly will keep you in its thoughts, prayers and hell-raising!
Yesterday UCI responded by saying they would gather up donated administrator paid vacation days to cover Red's time off, but as Rebel Girl and others pointed out, that's charity, not policy and fails address the situation in a meaningful way that protects others. She has encouraged Red to decline that offer (not that he needed much encouragement) and press for justice.

Stay tuned. And hey, if you want, sign the petition. As of this morning, 4621 others have.

Solidarity forever, baby.

UPDATE
"Thank you all for your outpouring of love and support for Andrew. It put us in a strong position this afternoon when UC-AFT leaders met with Vice Provost O’Dowd and Assistant Vice Chancellor Beckett. They pledged to forward a written proposal for paid medical leave by this Friday, 10/4. After our discussion today, we’re hopeful that the resolution will be based on our union contract and will not require Andrew to ask for charitable donations.

We'll post our next update after we receive UCI's proposal. Until then, know that you're making a difference for Andrew as an individual and for all UC teaching faculty. Thank you!"



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good fight for yourself and others. You are a model to the rest of us, Andrew.

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary