Letter to the Editor

The Editorial Board

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wish to bring attention and condemnation to recent unethical and inherently dishonest behavior performed by certain members of the University Professional of Illinois (UPI) 4100 local chapter at Western Illinois University. This activity includes 1.) picketing in front of student buildings during school hours in an attempt to hijack student voice, such as the Feb. 16 and 20, 2018 occurrences, 2.) disseminating fliers to students on campus that present biased, one-sided, and incomplete information, and 3.) instances of members of UPI diverting lecture time away from the intended topic to lecture students about Union business.

The information asymmetry inherent in the negotiations process – a process, I might add, that does not involve students, and for good reason – is one that UPI is attempted to leverage for their own gain, a clear breach of the moral mandate delineated in the University’s core value of Social Responsibility to “maintain the highest standards of integrity in our work with others.” Particularly worrying is the use of class time to pursue this end, behavior which is a clear violation of the Board of Trustees’ Academic Responsibility regulation.

These tactics illustrate a clear inability on the part of UPI to present their arguments within the negotiations in a convincing way, or they would not be pursuing them in the first place. If UPI leadership can present a coherent, data-driven, rational argument as to why increased pay in the face of lower budgets, lower enrollment, and no layoffs is realistically possible, then I challenge them to do just that. If it were possible, UPI would not be attempting to use students as leverage. In the likely case that it is not possible, UPI members will continue to picket in front of student buildings while classes remain in session, and persist in attempting to sway student opinion through their relative proximity to said students.

Students like myself will not stand idly by while we are co-opted as a result of the incompetence and poor premises of UPI leadership.

Students are not here to be used as leverage. We’re people, not pawns.

The truth continues to remain that demanding pay increases in a time of budget reductions threatens not only the employment of university faculty and staff, but also the financial well-being of the institution itself. UPI leadership would do well to take this irrefutable fact into account when approaching Western administration with demands of higher pay, fewer hours, and no layoffs.

You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. Nor can you attempt to exploit students, who have no say in the outcome of these negotiations, without facing consequences for that dishonest behavior.

I call on UPI to immediately cease their immoral picketing activities and on individual professors to use their class time not as a soapbox for Union praise but for legitimate academic instruction. That is what the faculty are being paid for.

Patrick R. Quinlan

Economics Graduate Student

Speaker, WIU Student

Government Association

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