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The Point: Team Logic


Greetings, Colleagues.

Cognitive Dissonance: Last Monday afternoon I found myself in a strange place, toggling between two different meetings on zoom at the same time.  One was the weekly meeting at of the Academic Continuity Task Force, on which I serve as the faculty representative from CLA.  In this group, meant to represent the entire UMB community, we warmly treat each other as colleagues working on a shared mission: we have even begun sharing ideas and documents on (Microsoft) Teams! 

But at literally the same time, as a member of the FSU Expanded Bargaining Team, I found myself shut out of a virtual negotiating session, blocked by representatives of the administration who seem to worry that collective bargaining cannot be successfully carried out in a democratic and transparent way. Colleagues around the country, from New Jersey to Oregon have already demonstrated that participatory democracy can, in fact, advance the common good on university campuses. The UMB administration’s unwillingness to allow faculty members into the virtual room suggests that its bargaining team does not believe that committed faculty members can be trusted to understand the process through which crucial decisions about our common future are made.  (On June 19th at 10 a.m. we will try again to persuade the administration that we should be allowed in the room; stay tuned for details from the core bargaining team on how to join the meeting.)

Over 50 FSU members showed up to join the core bargaining team and were essentially told by the administration, for the second time, that we could not be virtual witnesses—silent observers—of the negotiations. In this moment of dual pandemics—systemic racist violence and COVID-19—most campus matters will require that we all be much more than silent observers.  Creating an actively antiracist and equitable university community means we will all be called on to discover and declare our shared values and demonstrate what we are willing to do to manifest them.  This will play out on numerous fronts and it is clear we have immediate work to do in our own backyard. The FSU Executive Committee, as the recent Faculty of Color Report makes clear, must commit to creating a more inclusive and just union.

Our community will welcome a new chancellor in a little over a month and a permanent provost at the turn of the year: our jobs as FSU members is to make sure they, and the rest of our campus and system administration, understand what our campus priorities are and how we plan to achieve them.  In that light, the Executive Committee plans to use The Point in the next few weeks to take up questions surrounding systemic racism at UMB, particularly in the arenas of money, metrics, and mobility.

This is your union: how do you think we should be engaging as a union in the restorative social and political efforts of our moment? Let us know at


Jeffrey Melnick

Graduate Program Director, American Studies Department

Communications Director, Faculty Staff Union Executive Committee

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