« Is there anything left to us but to organize and fight? | Main | TV On The Radio @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple, 14 Oct 2008 »

14 October 2008


James Hirschfeld

I am going to cry foul on this article a bit. I think the impression most people would get after reading this article is:
-MSM does not treat its professors well.
-They do not provide health insurance and fire their professors without notice.

I admit that I am slow, but after reading the article, I thought, "I can't believe MSM treats its professors so terribly. No benefits? Is that even legal?" But did you know that the article does not interview a single fulltime professor in the Collegiate division? And, aside from Mr. Jones, it does not identify the teachers as pre-college private teachers. To me, it gives the impression that we are talking about fulltime professors. It makes absolutely no distinction between private teachers who teach high schoolers and the star faculty that make up the core faculty and I think that is a BIG omission.

I am absolutely in favor of the best benefits and a highly competitive salary for fulltime professors. I am in favor of subsidized housing near the school and great big private studios. And if it takes a union to get those benefits for fulltime professors, then I am in 100% in favor of it.

Nonetheless, as for adjuncts and private teachers in the pre-college division, I think that they should be treated more than fairly, but I believe differently than full-timers.

"How should they be treated?" is the question. Take Harold Jones. The Times states that Mr. Jones taught 6 students at any given time. Those are probably 1 hour lessons, but in fairness, let's double that and say it was 12 hours per week of teaching. (I don't actually know what the figure is since the article does not say.) What types of benefits should this proposed Union negotiate for Mr. Jones? Should he receive full benefits for this job? Full health? Dental? 401k? What can we reasonably expect from MSM regarding Mr. Jones? After 39 years, I would hope that they were direct and honest with him, (and according to the Mr. Jones, it sounds like they were not), but can we argue that MSM does not have the right to fire Mr. Jones? Or do they have to employ him for the rest of his natural life? Are we arguing for tenure for a youth division flute teacher with 6 students?

And to Mr. Mendoza: you teach 3 high school students and you want health benefits? Of course, I think health insurance should be a RIGHT for all people, but IN OUR CURRENT SYSTEM, even if Mr. Mendoza taught 12 high school students as he used to, I think it is crazy to expect a health plan for 12 hours of work per week.

As for the President's home, most colleges have a president's home and $1.3 million seems reasonable for NYC. It certainly has nothing to do with Mr. Mendoza's lack of insurance.

So what this article says NOTHING about is how MSM treats its core faculty---its professors. I can't speak to that. Maybe they are treated fairly, maybe unfairly. I'd really like to know as I think it is crucial to the argument. But apparently reporter Daniel J. Wakin doesn't think that is important. I just think it is ridiculous to write an article like this and without asking those questions.

The comments to this entry are closed.