The 15-minute Lecturers’ Employee Organization teach-ins last week were for some students a welcome break from seemingly endless lectures, and for others a quarter-hour waste of tuition. LEO members stopped class to inform students of what is going on after hours between the University and lecturers. Although LEO signed its current contract with the University more than two years ago, the University has still failed to fully implement its obligations. Though these teach-ins could interfere with the educational process while doing little to mend deteriorating relations between the University and its lecturers, it is the University’s failure to uphold its end of the LEO contract that has made such measures necessary.
Allowing the situation to get this out of hand has cast a shadow of doubt on the University’s treatment of its employees. Since signing the contract, LEO has had to constantly fight to make the University hold up its end of the bargain. But many lecturers are still misclassified, and promised pay raises still have not come. By failing to remedy these problems, the University not only fails its own employees and risks its reputation as an institution that respects its employees, but also jeopardizes its ability to attract and retain highly qualified lecturers.
The University and LEO must work together to meet lecturers’ demands. At the very least, the University must fully and immediately implement the current contract. The teach-in is not the only tactic on the table, LEO ran a full-page ad in The Michigan Daily last week to make its demands clear, and it is considering picketing winter commencement on Dec. 18. LEO and the University worked out their disagreements more than two years ago. There is no reason why LEO should have to resort to classroom interruptions and campus advertising to get the University to comply with its own agreements.