A Day in the Life

On the Blink

Today an instructor I’ve never met before walked into our shared office. We had the following exchange.

Colleague: Hello. You teach here?

Me: Good morning. Yes. I teach writing.

Colleague: And you’re blind?

Me: Yes.

Colleague: So…do you have any assistance in the classroom?

Me: No, not really.

Colleague: Wow, that’s just incredible! I really admire you!

Me: …

Colleague: I really admire how you don’t let blindness get in your way.

Me: … *looks for the exit*

Despite the fact that the colleague is using words like “admire” and “incredible,” I won’t be pinning this exchange on my wall of treasured compliments. Perhaps I sound churlish or ungrateful, so let me explain why I, and other disabled people, don’t enjoy this kind of attention.

As a teacher of effective communication, I am bothered by this scenario. The colleague expresses…

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Front Lines of the Academic Precariat: LIU Brooklyn Faculty Still Locked Out

ACADEME BLOG

BY DEBORAH MUTNICK

Day 3 of the LIU lockout. Labor Day. I have been locked out of Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus by an administration that makes my colleagues and me feel like poster children for the neoliberal corporatization of higher education. We have lost our health care and other benefits, our pay, and our access to email and course management websites. On this Labor Day, we are unemployed.

The lockout is unprecedented in higher education. It is a union-busting tactic intended to bully the faculty into submission. Whether spearheaded by the board of trustees or the president, the lockout suggests, as one observer aptly put it, that we have “a bad actor at the helm.” True as this description is—affirming our experience at LIU over the past three years in particular—it would be a mistake to conclude that the lockout is simply the result of bad leadership.

Rather, we…

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