USG votes to reject student group’s statement of support

Photo by Tyrone Smith Senior political science major Ian Horne speaks to USG on Monday on in support of the Student Soldarity Organization (SSO). USG voted against supporting SSO’s statement of support for adjunct unionization.

Photo by Tyrone Smith
Senior political science major Ian Horne speaks to USG on Monday on in support of the Student Soldarity Organization (SSO). USG voted against supporting SSO’s statement of support for adjunct unionization.

Originally published in The Globe February 19, 2014

The Student Solidarity Organization (SSO) will not receive support from the United Student Government (USG) after it voted against the group’s statement of support for the unionization of adjunct professors after three weeks of discussion.

“We had three weeks of really good discussion,” said USG President Dillon Kunkle on Monday.  “[The motion to not support the petition] passed by one vote. Nobody knew what to expect from today.”

Although the outlook for the USG’s support of the petition was initially positive, the issues of specific language, the certainty of impact on education and the assumption that unionized adjunct professors leads to a better education remained.

Ian Horne, a junior political science major, presented at Monday’s USG meeting on behalf of the SSO and answered questions from the legislative body.

A motion to change the language in the document from “recognize adjunct’s union” to “recognize adjunct’s ability to unionize,” was passed, but ultimately the legislative body voted not to support theSSO’s statement of support with the changed language.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Samatha Lee, a senior global cultural studies major and leader of the SSO, Monday in a telephone interview. “I was told they were pretty sure it was going to pass.  We worked with them on rewording the statement of support.”

Michael Gieseke, senior assistant dean for Campus Life and KeithPaylo, dean of students and student affairs, were both in attendance for the majority of the meeting. Gieseke reminded the legislative body as they discussed the issue that University President Paul Hennigan would be attending next week’s USG meeting.

“Why are you so quickly going to make this decision?” said Gieseke to USG, encouraging them to wait for “more facts.”

The lack of hard numbers was also a point of concern for Kunkle.

“We can’t pretend to know the answers, and we only know one side of it,” Kunkle said.

Kunkle urged the body to consider the question “does unionization of adjunct faculty lead to a better education for student?”

“No one can speak with certainty of the real implications of unionization,” Kunkle said. “And if we want to ask for a better education, let’s ask for a better education.”

Although USG is not in favor of the statement of support, Kunkle said “the issue’s being seen” and “there is motion in the University and the city.”

Lee still plans on bringing the statement of support to University administration. She will also try to get backing from individual students.

“Even though the student government is going hands-off, there is support [from individual students] within the student government,” Lee said. “We want to encourage students not to be afraid just because student government isn’t supportive.”

The SSO is planning on holding events on or near campus to educate students about the issue. It will also have students from the organization walk around and start conversations on campus.

Lee, who was removed by security at the adjunct faculty meeting last Monday, said the organization is planning a “small, quiet, peaceful rally” during her judicial review on Feb. 20 outside of the Student Center at 1:30 p.m.

According to Lee, the rally will consist of a few students from the organization handing out fliers and encouraging people to sign the petition in support of adjunct faculty.

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