I wish to make a couple of comments on recent issues at SIU. First up, Halloween. After various attempts to solve the Halloween problem, the University and the city have hit on the right combination:maintain classes as usual and close the bars. It is truly unfortunate that such a plan was not instituted a few years ago when the combination of keeping the bars and dorms open and canceling classes w

By Gus Bode

No one in his or her right mind would have predicted anything but a disaster from such a combination. Yet, the University administration and some on the City Council forged ahead with this “plan,” setting the stage for SIU to get perhaps its biggest black eye ever. Hopefully, everyone has learned from these social experiments, such that we can put Halloween behind us and get on to bigger and better things.

Now, a faculty strike clouds the University community. This is another issue that could bring SIU a black eye, and like the Halloween mess a few years ago, it is totally avoidable. First of all, faculty should remember that despite their frustrations with the administration, students are not to blame for the economic issues at SIU. Therefore, to take out your frustrations with the administration by picketing instead of teaching not only cuts at the very fabric of the University, but also would be a hell of a way to repay students for their support of the faculty informational pickets last week.

There is clearly a problem with the faculty salaries at SIU, and the administration seems bent on shooting itself in the foot on this issue. The Faculty Association argument that there always seems to be money for administrative “pet projects” has merit. And complicates the salary bargaining issue.


The recent announcement of new faculty hires is a case in point. With absolutely zero faculty input in terms of strategic needs, 28 new faculty slots were announced with great fanfare amidst a climate in which existing faculty, some of whom, by the way, are VERY GOOD, are told there is no money for raises of any kind.

Might it not have been smarter to use dollars earmarked for the “28” to solve existing salary problems, and then move ahead with new hires following faculty input concerning the direction and needs of the University?

Seems like a “win-win” scenario to me and certainly the path that common sense would dictate.

At any rate, we are at a crossroads. Will a strike gain anything for either side? Unlikely; SIU will be the biggest loser. In the days ahead, faculty should remember that students have shelled out a lot of money, in fact 18 percent more this year than last, with more increases looming on the horizon, to get an education. Therefore, we should be there to educate them.

Administrators should wake up and realize that there are a lot of good and highly dedicated faculty at SIU that deserve better than to be told that getting 28 new professors is more urgent than dealing with existing salary inequities that have lingered for years.