March 21, 2011

Madison's other rotunda — the Wisconsin protest moves to campus.

A Facebook group:
As students, teachers, researchers, and workers at UW-Madison we ask you to gather with us tomorrow, Monday, March 21st at noon to show your solidarity against this massive attack on public eduction and labor in the state of Wisconsin. Our plan is to quietly congregate and publicly perform our role as teachers and employees of the university, so participate by bringing your grading or other work. We will meet in the rotunda at Bascom Hall in order to promote our status as graduate student workers committed to accessible public education and the fair employment practices guaranteed by collective bargaining rights. Bascom is the home to University Administration, Faculty Senate, and PROFS, and thus serves as a symbolic space where we can convey our persistent dedication to this struggle to KILL THE BILL.
Bring your lunch, bring your work, and wear your TAA shirt tomorrow. Help us keep labor visible, and remind the campus that the UNIVERSITY WORKS BECAUSE WE DO!
This looks like a job for New Media Meade.

UPDATE: At 12:04, per Meade: "Fewer than 12 people waiting for TA Godot." "Two are grading blue books."

UPDATE 2: At 12:15: 30 people now. Plus, an iPhone photo:

IMG_0149

The sign says: "Productive Protesters/Grad Students Working for the Cause."

UPDATE 3: Earlier someone said, "I'm here for the pizza," and now Ian's Pizza has delivered. Text: "Meade eschewing communist pizza." Nobody has run him out of town yet.

UPDATE 4: "I believe this may be a trial occupation." Later: "If this is an occupation, it's lame. More like a study hall or 30 person study date." Also (with typical Meadhouse Dylan reference): "People walking through not in group must step over TAs sitting in doorways blocking up the halls/Hope no one stalls." I get it... Don't criticize what you can’t understand...
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
Or a fist. Get outta town. You old geezers...

68 comments:

Shawn L. said...

Time for Bring Your Husband to Work day.

Lincolntf said...

Yay. More Wisconsin government workers protesting the Wisconsin voters. Let's see if they can go a whole day without vandalism, death threats or swastikas. Doubtful, but there's always hope.

rhhardin said...

Structural instability isn't a big consideration on campus.

Windbag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
galdosiana said...

I'd love to see Meade interview the TAs!!

And, on a side note (but related), the State Journal just published this article: "Analysis shows emails to Walker favored budget repair bill"

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/article_ca97c286-fe25-5074-8cb0-5f9a2c240df8.html

From the article:
"Of the emails related to the bill, 62 percent supported it, while 32 percent opposed it. The margin of error for the Center’s sample size is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points."

And from emails only sent by Wisconsinites: "55 percent favoring his bill and 42 percent opposed"

Windbag said...

Would it be inappropriate to begin some dialogue concerning possible product placement in future videos?

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Finished with keeping the legislature from doing its job, they will now proceed to keeping students from doing their work.

Phil 3:14 said...

The new Lake Wobegon effect:

all of our schools are world class

Drew said...

Isn't it Spring Break at UW-Madison?

galdosiana said...

Isn't it Spring Break at UW-Madison?

Nope, we've just finished break (this past week) and today is the first day back.

bagoh20 said...

It's funny how they call it "labor". How many people there have ever done any real labor...ever?

Are there any words that the left uses correctly?

Irene said...

This is the first time I've heard of Bascom Hall as having a "Rotunda."

Trying to muhv the thunda?

Drew said...

The more these people bitch and moan on behalf of their wealthy union masters, the more they beclown themselves.

Pogo said...

Being in college right now would be shitty.

For most of the TAs there is little-to-no chance the economy is going to improve by graduation.

There ain't no union for the unemployment line, so do the solidarity thingy while you can.

After college, it's every man for himself.

Drew said...

Isn't it Spring Break at UW-Madison?

Nope, we've just finished break (this past week) and today is the first day back.


Ah, well it is up here, so expect an influx of bored leftists from the north to arrive in Madison this week.

Unless they all went to South Padre or something, since only well-paid unionists can afford to take vacations anymore.

bagoh20 said...

After the nuclear Holocaust, Madison will be the first town to completely starve and freeze to death. The frozen corpses will still be holding all the same signs they do today.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@galdosiana

I admit to being surprised at that Journal article, but I shouldn't be. I would really like to hear from some of the commenters in yesterday's threads who were smugly certain of the opposite outcome.

Phil 3:14 said...

Bring your lunch, bring your work, and wear your TAA shirt tomorrow

As opposed to:

Hide your kids, Hide your wife, cuz they're rapin everybody out here

Lukedog said...

1. Take video of protesters and mock them.
2. Carol says the number of protesters is dwindling.
3. Other disciples mock them in both creative and non-creative ways.
4. Someone may or may not say you guys are brave or great.
5. Repeat.
6. Repeat.
7. Repeat.

Maguro said...

So their plan is to "quietly congregate" and grade papers in the rotunda in their union T-shirts?

What exactly is that going to accomplish?

Ann Althouse said...

It will be interesting to see how quiet they are.

BTW, lawprofs don't have TAs. We do our own work, grading, etc.

Quayle said...

"and remind the campus that the UNIVERSITY WORKS BECAUSE WE DO! "

And I would remind the current crop that there are lots of unemployed and very skilled people that would gladly take your job and allow the university to work because they would.

MadisonMan said...

This is the first time I've heard of Bascom Hall as having a "Rotunda."

It had a Rotunda, lost to fire in 1916.

Carol_Herman said...

Spring break's over. The heavy load work, studying for finals, and preparing the written stuff, has hardly just begun. So, it's a guess on my part that the professors won't force any of the kids to take a test right away.

Yup. Professors do that. And, grades come back really low. But at the end of the term the professor says: "You can eliminate the results on one of your exams." Whatever.

I don't think this rally will change anything. The unions didn't get what they wanted. And, today, one of the flee-baggers put in a law that you don't need 20 for a quorum, in Wisconsin. Because the democraps don't want this "event" to become a useful tool for republicans. Go figa.

Irene said...

Thanks, MadisonMan. I forgot about that.

edutcher said...

"Our plan is to quietly congregate and publicly perform our role as teachers and employees of the university"

Uh, how is standing around with your sign and TAA T-shirt performing your role as teacher?

Ann Althouse said...

This looks like a job for New Media Meade.

Faster than a speeding sleep-in.

More powerful than an over-the-hill hippie.

It's New Meadia Meade.

Yes, New Meadia Meade, strange visitor from another political dimension, with powers and abilities far beyond those of cavilling Lefties...

Leading the fight for truth, justice, and a little with the missus.

SteveR said...

As has been stated in previous threads, the idea of an organization to "protect" the rights of Teaching Assistants is laughable.

Sure some are quite good at what they do, useful and cost effective but the idea of joining up with my fellow TA's to make sure we had good insurance and working conditions would have been unthinkable. Graduate and get a real job, should be all you care about.

Lucius said...

They're having a Grade-In.

Canuck said...

"BTW, lawprofs don't have TAs. We do our own work, grading, etc."

True, but lawprofs don't teach large lecture classes filled with hundreds of freshmen who are assigned multiple papers.

And you don't have to teach many of those students how to write academic papers.

vbspurs said...

Bring your lunch, bring your work, and wear your TAA shirt tomorrow. Help us keep labor visible, and remind the campus that the UNIVERSITY WORKS BECAUSE WE DO! This looks like a job for New Media Meade.

Waaaaait, a minute. Is there a paragraph or a space missing here, or did these labour dillweds really write, "This looks like a job for New Media Meade"??

Canuck said...

"Sure some are quite good at what they do, useful and cost effective but the idea of joining up with my fellow TA's to make sure we had good insurance..."

Health care - important. I know somebody who got a brain tumor while in his twenties. He didn't have insurance as a TA and was destroyed financially for years.

I know somebody else who gave birth and there were some problems with the meconium. Everything was fine, but the baby was in the ICU for a few days. Very, very expensive, but they had insurance because of the union. So they only paid 6,000$ instead of much, much more. (Or trying to give birth at home to save money.)

Paul Zrimsek said...

Move over, swimming pools-- rotundas are THE attractive nuisance for the new millennium! In most markets, you can't even give a property away if it has a rotunda on it.

vbspurs said...

Phil 3:14 wrote:

As opposed to:

Hide your kids, Hide your wife, cuz they're rapin everybody out here


That's what the cadence reminded me of, too, Phil!

If the Facebook photo of the group leader shows him with a Brazilian blow-out, then it IS Antoine Dodson.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And you don't have to teach many of those students how to write academic papers.

WHICH they should have already learned in high school english before coming to college.

WHICH they don't learn because their Unionized teachers are incompetent and the school system is a joke and waste of time for the students.

Yet another argument for not continuing with the Unionization of public employees....Thank you, Canuck

David said...

True. The University works because they do.

But it would work fine if there were less of them, especially the layers of administrators, and if their pay and perks were more in line with the private sector.

David said...

After college, it's every man for himself.

No. After college is graduate school.

Jason said...

"massive attack on public eduction"

This is yet another reason to not let spell check be your grammar guide. I didn't realize there was a massive attack on publicly getting a result after a long wait or repeated attempts.

traditionalguy said...

Kill Bill Vol. 2 is coming in time for spring. But the Samurai Union members are all busy at home doing reactor meltdown duty. So the Wisconsin Sumo Union will need to waddle out in their place and play politics. That Is Entertainment!

SteveR said...

@Canuck Yeah I understand, its a benefit that helps being able to get TAs, etc. My point is its a luxury for someone in that type of job to have any real benefits so all things considered, paying more for it, is hardly going to generate much sympathy.

Life's hard on most us like that.

TosaGuy said...

I was a TA and I consider the position to be financial aid/internship, not a job. It's a pretty good gig if you look at with that lens.

If I was a student who was getting graded by one of these people protesting, just how comfortable am I with that? Is the TA giving my paper/test his full attention while hanging in the rotunda? If my paper is on a controvesial subject, will the TA be in his professional mindset, or his union activist mindset, when he reads a thesis that he may viscerally disagree with but is well constructed? Or (and this is probably the case), will nothing get done and the TA will then rush through his task after spending too long procrastinating?

vnjagvet said...

I don't think Lukedog likes us very much.

Lincolntf said...

Nothing says "Down with the Man!" like holding study hall while sitting Indian-style on the floor.

Canuck said...

"Is the TA giving my paper/test his full attention while hanging in the rotunda?"

I doubt it's much different then going to a coffee shop to grade. (Or grading in TA cubical & crowded shared offices.) Actually, it's probably more productive then grading alone with the TV as a distraction.

In terms of health care - many TAs in the US have only gotten health care plans because they unionized. (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa) I think a university should provide a health care plan that employees can buy into. I don't think it's morally right not offer any health care benefits. I also think health benefits attracts better grad students.

Canuck said...

Oh - I just realized that people might have a misconception about what the TAA group is worried about.

They aren't worried that they will have to pay MORE for health care. They are worried that their health care will be taken away entirely.

Until TA's in the US organized, TAs and Grad Instructors generally didn't have any health care plan to buy into. In the 1970s and 1980s when grad programs got people through faster (4 years) that didn't matter as much. People got out of school younger and healthier.

Now average time to completion is much longer and the schools depend more on TAs to teach classes to save money. Health care is more important.

Sigivald said...

Grad students?

Shouldn't they be opposed to the Unions that support the power structure that keeps them overworked and underpaid pseudo-slaves, working insane hours for a stipend for the chance of someday possibly joining the Elite?

It'd be interesting to see support or attendance broken down by area of study, as well.

(Want to bet that the hard science or applied science/engineering students are exactly the ones who don't show? I would.)

Ann Althouse said...

@Victoria Check the indentation. The block text ends. The last line is mine. Meade said he preferred to be thought of more like the Lone Ranger, but I said it was the Superman line that popped into my head.

PatCA said...

From the FB page it looks like lots of people have meetings, will be there in spirit, have to wash their hair.

Just kidding about the last one.

I think it's kind of over.

Maguro said...

Are there any olde media types covering this snoozefest or is New Media Meade their only source of publicity?

vbspurs said...

Heh, yes, Ann. The funny lack of indentation occurs only when you click on comments section, and read down.

TosaGuy said...

Canuck,

I was a TA in the late 1990s, no union, no health care insurance, but I did get free private-school tuition plus a stipend large enough I didn't need to take out student loans.

With regard to length of study, the university I attended did have the problem of people taking forever to get through. There were tons of dead-weight grad students on the 10 year plan. It was killing the program because people wouldn't leave and they kept sucking up fellowships, etc.

So they changed the way they did things. People entering the program know they are eligible for Grad assistantships, fellowships, etc. for five years. Then if you are not done, then feel free to enroll in dissertation credit but its on your dime. The result, since this program was implemented, the number of PhD's granted has gone up, the number placed in tenure-track positions has gone up and the number who have published has gone up.

Never make something that is supposed to be temporary so comfortable that people will never want to leave.

Lincolntf said...

PatCA

So it's more of a semi-circle jerk these days?

vbspurs said...

Plus, an iPhone photo:

Yes, it must be a trial occupation...that or a knitting circle.

Also, do I spy Windoze as the O/S of that laptop? Pff, real Madison Lefties use Apple. BoBo #fail.

Canuck said...

"Never make something that is supposed to be temporary so comfortable that people will never want to leave."

My point of view is different. A friend got brain cancer while he was a TA.

Fluke, yes - but it happens. These schools are not giving grad students charity. Many universities require TAs and grad instructors to operate within their current budget. Grad students are often expected to teach their own courses without any supervision. It's a cost-saving measure.

Now if schools want to hire full time faculty to teach students, I would approve.

But if universities are going to use TAs to make their budgets work, they should at least offer a health plan for them to buy into. (And schools don't have to pay any social security benefits for TAs or grad instructors. It's a deal for the schools.)

Carol_Herman said...

You know with tuitions so high I should have assumed students wouldn't give this protest the right time of day!

When my ex completed medical school, his debt to society was $6,000.

Maybe, by increasing tuitions, we've benefited mankind by making the teenagers more serious. (Or more worried about their growing debt.)

Carol_Herman said...

... Or even more worried about getting a job.

Your point to Jim Shankman was very well taken! We live in the Internet age. And, any employer who would see some activist student, wouldn't be so impressed with the credential. And, it's a tough jobs market out there.

Who, on the campus, thought up this idea?

WV: retymobs (rent-a-mob)

galdosiana said...

I walked by Bascom at about 12:40. Thought about stopping in to say hi to Meade, but there seemed to be no one around--anywhere--so I figured he'd probably left by then! I'm really amazed that so few people showed up at this event. They must have been upset that their plotting and scheming has all dried up post-break.

galdosiana said...

Oh, did Meade get a photo of their hand-made sign outside? It had a caution sign on it and said something to the effect of "Caution: Labor Zone".

Michael said...

Canuck: Should the union get liability insurance for the TAs? I once knew a TA who was in a car wreck, his fault, and he really hurt some people and was sued and lost. He didn't have insurance. Also knew one whose house was flooded and he didn't have flood insurance so maybe we could include that as well. Lot's can happen and there is no reason a TA should have to think of all those things him/herself when the union could do it for him/her. What about disability, because you could screw your carpals up grading papers or writing the syllabus. Lot to think about. Dangerous and mind numbing labor.

vbspurs said...

Galdosiana wrote:

Caution: Labor Zone

Beware of Top Gun-inspired movements. They're sure to be repressed homosexuals looking for a game of volleyball.

TosaGuy said...

Canuck,

Your unfortunate anecdote should not and can not drive an entire system. If it makes sense to offer health insurance, then offer it, if it doesn't it doesn't. Personnaly tragic anecdotes, while they may inform a person's individual point of view, hold little weight in a rationale discussion that requires more substantial arguement.

With regard to your other point, get rid of the concept of tenure and watch the life of grad students and adjuncts improve.

bsfootprint said...

@Dust Bunny Queen
"WHICH they don't learn because their Unionized teachers are incompetent and the school system is a joke and waste of time for the students"

Not to mention a waste of taxpayers' money. Oops, I mentioned it.

Phil 3:14 said...

Victoria;
That's what the cadence reminded me of, too, Phil!

If the Facebook photo of the group leader shows him with a Brazilian blow-out, then it IS Antoine Dodson.


Still waiting for someone to auto-tune the Wisconsin protests.

Lincolntf said...

99% of TA's finish their terms with zero health liabilities, so let's pay for full coverage for 100% of them. Brilliant!

mike said...

OK. Uhh...what?

foxtrot said...

Looks like a stark contrast from just 12 days ago. I'm glad the pit bull has been neutered, but it looks like the goonsters are trying to re-glue the balls back on.

Fen said...

Lukedog moaned: 1. Take video of protesters and mock them.
2. Carol says the number of protesters is dwindling.
3. Other disciples mock them in both creative and non-creative ways.


But they are very mockable.

Meanwhile, I wondering about these commercials for Jewish holocaust survivors needing $25 care packages to EAT. Has anyone donated to these guys? I'm curious it its on the up and up.

I mean, I know our Union Brats are in the most dire straights, but...

Kirby Olson said...

Didnn't the Supreme Court rule against the right to make threats?

In the 2003 case of Virginia v. Black, the Supreme Court ruled that "those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals" do not enjoy First Amendment protection.


I think Shankman may well have committed a crime. I don't think you two should just let it go. It's a crime!

Molly said...

All of you saying that grading requires intense focus are obviously not TAs. I teach composition and grading papers is a lot like doing math problems, or solving a crossword puzzle. You judge whether students meet a standard, choose a grade, and write 5-6 sentences of end comments, which becomes quite automatic. I would need much more concentration to, say, read something in my field.