Academic Unfreedom–Indiana Style

Don’t you just love the Hoosier State? First their newly-elected governor (yes, he’s a Republican) abolished all union contracts with public sector employees. Now word comes that the Indiana University Labor Studies program is under the budget axe. According to an appeal from labor studies professor Ruth Needleman, several tenure-track professors have been laid off along with clerical and instructional staff.

Of course, budgets are tight everywhere. But this is just the latest installment in a nation-wide campaign by state-level Republican politicians to do away with academic programs that provide services to labor unions and working class communities. They may not be quite as openly involved in the Indiana case as governor-Terminator has been in California, but they get the same benefit.

Maybe it’s not such a good time to take a job as a labor educator…oops. Too late!

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One Response to Academic Unfreedom–Indiana Style

  1. Church Secretary says:

    This is how dictatorial regimes solidify their power, and I ain’t exaggeratin’. They do all they can to undermine their opposition.

    In this case, Tobias, they have the opportunity to kill several birds with one stone. The closest bird is obviously the staff they’re cutting. The next nearest bird, but one that’s much larger, is the violation of the university’s own rules regarding staff reduction procedures; if they get away with it, it sets a precedent for future impunity. The largest bird by far, one that is a bit further off (but which has already been dazed by a direct hit from a previous stone), is the very existence of organized labor in Indiana.

    I apologize for the extended use of the metaphor, but I got carried away. The real story will be to see if local media in Indiana are silent about this incursion of fascism into their institutes of higher learning, and, if not, whether the benighted Indiana voters will demonstrate their acquiescence in the next gubernatorial and state congressional elections.

    Personally, I don’t hold out much hope for Indiana showing itself to be a bastion of enlightened, progressive values. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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