Inside the University We Have
On Monday more than four hundred people attended the meeting organized by the Faculty Association to discuss our ongoing responses to the disastrous and haphazard leadership of the LeBlanc administration.
We had much to bemoan and much to celebrate. We have lost friends and necessary co-workers to unnecessary and destructive layoffs. Our president and the enablers with whom he surrounds himself are pulling the university that we have worked hard to build toward the edge of an abyss. But we also celebrate an outpouring of activism and energy by students, staff, and faculty to pull GW back. We celebrate the student-led petition that kept Heather Swain from joining the leadership of GW (read more here). We celebrate the staff members who founded the GW Staff Advocacy and Equity Coalition, a sibling organization that, like GWUFA, will fight corruption with compassion and despotism with solidarity (read more here). We celebrate the many independent protests by faculty members at GW, including powerful letters of protest by the Department Chairs, Program Heads and Directors of the Columbian College (here) and the Dean’s Council of the Elliott School (here).
There are three immediate action items that GWUFA is throwing into this mix, and we hope you will participate in them to the extent that you are willing and able.
- Are you ready to get involved in one of GWUFA’s new committees? Then get in touch! Here is the information:
- No-Confidence Committee. Are you with the 91% of the polled faculty and staff at the August 20 all-faculty meeting who expressed support for a no-confidence vote in the LeBlanc administration? Are you unwilling to let a clause in the GW bylaws prohibiting a vote of no confidence in the President silence you and your colleagues? A broad public statement by faculty, staff, students, and alumni can be as powerful as a formal resolution. If you would like to help make this happen then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Direct Action Committee. Are you one of the many faculty who have called for walk-outs, slow-downs, public protests, and a thousand other creative acts of political expression? Make them happen by joining this committee. In fact, the committee is meeting at 3pm on Thursday! Contact email@example.com .
- Organizing Committee. Our strength is our numbers. Right now roughly 30% of all full-time non-medical faculty at GW are members of the Faculty Association. Imagine what we could do if the number were twice that? If you like what you see, then this is the committee for you. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please talk to at least three colleagues about GWUFA. Find out if they are friends and supporters of these efforts. Find out whether they would support a vote of no confidence in GW’s President. Find out if they are ready to engage in some form of direct action, like a protest, and how motivated they would be to do so. Ask if you can pass on their information to the Faculty Association and, if they say yes, use this form to do so.
- Express your protest! We have created graphics that you can use to let your networks know what you are doing to protest this administration — for the good of your colleagues and for your own sense of personal dignity. We call them “GWUF.emes” (GWUFA + meme), and you can add them to your emails, circulate them on social media, and post them on your syllabi (we’ve sized them in two ways, for Twitter and for Word documents — in the latter case we’ve drawn up instructions on how to insert them as banners). They’re designed to mimic GW’s aesthetic, in the guise of a “COVID-19 Update.” Help us make them viral (so to speak).We’re offering 8 different versions, 3 of which are reproduced above as samples; all 8 are available on our website for download. Choose GWUF.emes that work with your style: some are more passionate and some more matter-of-fact — just like we are. But we’re eager for additional suggestions. Please feel free to request your own particular wording, too, and we’ll draw it up for you.
If you are as worried about the immediate future of GW under the LeBlanc administration as we are, if you are as determined to make shared governance a reality, then now is the time to act. And there are many, many actions to take. We have listed just a few. Have your own ideas? Run with them, and then let us know so we can celebrate you on our website (without using your name if you prefer, of course)!
In solidarity and the joy of collaborative struggle,
The George Washington University Faculty Association