Why Does the New York Times Ignore the LIU Lockout?

BY HANK REICHMAN

The Labor Day lockout of faculty at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus has placed that institution on the front lines of the battle for higher education’s future. It’s a big national story — the first time ever that a college or university administration in the U.S. has locked out its faculty — and certainly should be a big local story in New York.  But you wouldn’t know it from reading the New York Times, the self-proclaimed national newspaper of record.

The story first broke last week but as of this moment the Times hasn’t run a single item on it.  If you go to the “New York” section of the paper’s online site you’ll find these top headlines, as of 4 p.m. Eastern time today: “Celebrity Answering Service Endures, Its Secrets Intact,” “Harley Flanagan, Original New York Punker, Finds His Mellower Side,” and “Stolen, Sold and Savored: Ice Cream Is a Hot Commodity in Manhattan.”  I guess there just isn’t room for a minor story of how 400+ educators are being deprived of their health care benefits, email access, and work at a major city institution.  I guess they just couldn’t fit in a story of how the university advertised for “temporary instructors” on an internet employment site and how tuition-paying students are being compelled to take classes with totally unqualified teachers.  I guess these other stories are far more important.

Fortunately, The Nation has run a fine piece on the lockout, which you can read here.

UPDATE: As of early afternoon, N.Y. time, on Tuesday, September 6, still no Times story!  So much for the “paper of record.”

UPDATE: Finally!  Posted to the Times website some time late afternoon or early evening Sept. 6: https://t.co/k5rxAvauEj

7 thoughts on “Why Does the New York Times Ignore the LIU Lockout?

    • Everyone is affected by the LIU lockout in different ways: students, full-time faculty, adjunct-faculty.
      As a long-term adjunct at LIU, I can only state that I was asked to commit to my current teaching schedule in something like February of 2016: that is, several months ago. I passed up other employment opportunities, and did not pursue other alternatives for those concretely scheduled commitments (actual class times and course titles).
      A twist right now is that I was also recently asked to step in for a leading and highly valued faculty member who had a health-care emergency. During the summer, I committed to two additional Fall Semester courses (at specific times and with specific content).

      Therefore, I have been asked to commit my time and resources and financial viability to an institution whose members value me and, in the instance of an emergency health-related substitution, are actually asking for MY HELP.
      And here I am, not getting paid, facing unneeded marital stress and parental anxieties, discarded like all the other people who have their own stories and problems–some of which are surely more disheartening and existentially threatening than my own.

      If a chair person cannot speak for the university when asking people like me to firmly and accountably commit their time and energy for a near-future engagement, then the university administration is truly lost on a sea of moral relativism and double-dealing.
      Even the replacement teachers (whatever their backgrounds) are being abused in this scenario. No one of any moral rectitude would agree to teach a high-cost course without being properly qualified–unless driven to do so by some vulnerability that is being invoked if not directly exploited.

      The veil is truly being ripped back from the existing power relationships and priorities. But since no one goes into college teaching purely or mainly for the material rewards, I wonder whose priorities and craven manipulations are being brought to light in the current contract conflict……

    • For good reason, Pooja Vyas. But the faculty would ask you for your support so that we can return to the classroom as soon as possible and give you the education you deserve. We hope we will be able to resolve this crisis in our favor. LIU faculty are NOT the problem. We are fighting not just for ourselves but for the students, the staff, and the future of the campus. I hope you’ll wait to see what happens in the next week or so and voice your concerns to President Cline and Board Chairman Eric Krasnoff.

  1. I just sent emails to both the NYTimes (letters@nytimes.com) and the New York Daily News (voicers@nydailynews.com) asking why no coverage. I suggest that everyone do the same.

    • NYT reporter at the union meeting today. AFT President Randi Weingarten will have an op-ed piece in NYT tomorrow or Thursday. LIUFF membership voted 226-10 (96%) to reject the contract. We also reconvened immediately as the Faculty Senate and voted no-confidence in President Kim Cline (only FT faculty: 8 irregular votes discarded, 10 no, and 135 yes). The LIU administration precipitated a crisis that has given us an opening–a chance to fight not only for our own faculty, students, and the future of our university and, because history has made us in this particular moment the vanguard of the “academic precariat”–locked out, without pay, health insurance, or benefits–for higher ed. If you’re in the NYC area, join us tomorrow at Flatbush and DeKalb between 8 and 1 for a mass rally and picket. Keep checking for updates. Thank you for your support!!

      • Deborah,
        Thank you for this information and for your leadership — and the leadership of the entire LIU Brooklyn faculty. I’m in California, but were I closer by I would surely be there tomorrow. Consider me there in spirit, however.
        Hank

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