by Nathan Whalen, Executive Vice President, UAUO
United Academics voted in the Fall to extend our current Collective Bargaining Agreement for the following two years, locking in raises and safe-guarding our current benefits packages. We are pleased with the outcome of the agreement, and can now focus energies on our organizing campaign and other projects. We are still collecting information from our Diversity Survey on campus to better understand issues related to equity and inclusion. Our Faculty Organizing for Success Program has been well-attended by new faculty looking for mentorship and professional development opportunities. At our most recent General Membership Meeting, we discussed upcoming ballot measures, and raised more than 4000 dollars for a local university group that will be engaging in relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Off campus, we were proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in our ACSFME local in their recent strike, and remain connected with the labor movement through our local labor council.
There has been a robust discussion surrounding free speech on campus within United Academics and the University at large following the disruption and protest of President Schill’s State of the University address by students. The UO Student Collective had previously tried to speak with the administration regarding a number of issues, from tuition increases to the upsurge in White Supremacist activity on campus. After the protest, students were charged with violations of the Student Conduct Code. At United Academics, we strongly opposed the punishment that students were threatened with, and worked in conjunction with the UO Senate to facilitate a conversation between administration and students on such important issues. A letter was issued from all governing bodies at the University in support of the students. These are difficult but necessary conversations, given the present political environment on and off campus.