Unionization beneficial to University, promotes affordability


Yesterday’s editorial opposing the unionization of faculty at the University of Illinois was disappointing to me as a faculty member and as a parent of two college students. 

Apparently, the editors did not attend the recent public meeting of the Campus Faculty Association or read its materials closely, which clearly state the goals of this union and its campaign. As it is, the editorial misrepresents the union’s position, rights and goals. 

The editors present any attempt by faculty to improve their status as a way to extract more money from students. 

The total cost of attending the University of Illinois in 1960 absorbed about 23 percent of median family income for the United States in the same year. Today, attending the University for a year swallows almost 60 percent of a median household income. 

Many of those who work at the University — including some low-paid faculty — earn less than the median and cannot afford to send their children to the University for four years on their salaries. This is a crisis that concerns us all, whether students, faculty or staffers. 

We need to work for a solution together! A faculty union will be an important partner to students and their organizations in the fight to make higher education a priority in the state and the nation, to make the University more affordable, and to maintain its excellence. Uninformed scaremongering will not get us there.

Dorothee Schneider, professor of history