Published: Thursday, February 9, 2006
Updated: Monday, February 2, 2009 12:02
"I whole-heartedly support the UT/MUO merger. It will make our school prestigious, fantastic and overall, just spectacular. It's high time this happened."
If the pending contract between the American Association of University Professors and UT is approved, this is about all you'll hear from professors regarding the merger.
A clause in the possible agreement says that AAUP must speak favorable to the UT/MUO merger to the press.
Uh, but what if they don't think favorably of the merger?
Too bad, apparently.
With the merger so well-supported by the UT community, it's surprising that such a clause is even necessary.
It seems that UT, just like its union employees, wants a good insurance policy.
But is this form of insurance fair to any citizen with the right to free speech?
We think not.
Although UT has some leverage over its unions, this clause steps over the line.
And unfortunately, the Communication Workers of America have already agreed to it.
Ron Honse, CWA president, said that his union's approval of the clause was "a show of good faith."
However, with union contract negotiations being dragged out for such a long period of time, CWA members probably didn't want to squabble about the merger clause - the university compromised along with the unions, Honse said.
In spite of these so-called concessions to the union, UT is clearly taking advantage of its employees.
Will this become a throwback to the Sept. 1999 through June 2000 era of UT President Vikram Kapoor, who attempted to censor those (including our predecessor, The Collegian) who spoke negatively of UT?
Not only is this an unfair violation of employees' rights to free thought and speech, it is a paranoid and unnecessary act by the institution.
A few dissenters among the approving majority won't prevent the merger.
UT is an institution where creative, independent thinking is supposed to be nurtured.
But if our instructors have their thoughts and actions needlessly edited by the administration, this environment will be destroyed.
UT should focus more on carrying out the merger and less on taking control of the words of its faculty and staff.