URGENT: Support Job Security for College Teachers
UNIVERSITY SAYS NO TO STUDENTS
MINIMUM DEMANDS
Response to article on South Asia search
i lend you my name
R-E-S-P-E-C-T

7/23/07

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your moral support. I need it now more than ever, since I will be officially unemployed on August 17, still working for the University community through www.cfu-lc.com, but without pay or benefits, with a shaky financial situation and uncertain future. Some of you have asked me to join the "Save Professor Bauer" Facebook Group. I have considered doing so, but perhaps this would be inappropriate. Thank you for your support of me personally, but I have consistently maintained that the cause of Lecturer's Policy reform is more important. If we can achieve this, my current travails will have been worthwhile. In my mind at least, this has never been about me (although I have to make a living somehow, like everyone else).

Since last Thursday, my profile has been taken down from the Religious Studies website. The new Assistant Professor in South Asian History will be teaching the service course "The Hindu Traditions," which I taught for eight years, but she is not even listed on the Religious Studies faculty, and teaches no other courses for the Program. I was not even interviewed for the job, and I was as good as told in advance that I need not apply. None of my courses are any longer permitted to be listed by University College under the home base "Religious Studies," and my last summer course, "Save the Planets: Environmental Themes in Science Fiction and Fantasy," designed specifically for the Summer Scholar's Program, has been omitted from the list of courses approved for that Program (this could have led to cancellation of the class, but fortunately I have enough day and evening school students to be paid fully for the course). My teaching for the Summer Scholars' Program is highly recommended by the students, and I have made such introductory level teaching my specialty. Without a doubt I would have had a large enrollment if students had not been steered away from my course.

Incoming Freshmen will not have the choice to take Focus 2310-11, "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability" for credit (although we will offer a non-credit cfu-lc version). It has been replaced, perhaps significantly, by a new course on markets in American society.

My good colleague Professor Jonathan Schwiebert now has my former job, the only "Lecturer in Religious Studies," the job I fought so hard to keep (not even requesting a promotion to Senior Lecturer, because the most commonly circulated petition did not mention a promotion, only the safeguarding of my petition). Please remember, when I fougbt to keep this job, I thought I was doing the will of my colleagues in Religious Studies. I wish Professor Schwiebert well in this position. He will need our support, because there may now be little to prevent the University, and the Program, from stringing him along the way they did me. This is really the issue the University, and the Program, fought so hard to defend: their purported right to use so-called "temporary" positions as they please. It may be that this is what they intended to do all along, although they are not likely to admit it. Please support a three year limit on such positions (I was a "temporary" Lecturer for eight years), and the right of Lecturers to reassignment within the University (other workers have this). Please support tenure for college teaching, and more autonomy for the College, and for University College. Please support intellectual property rights of faculty to their course titles and syllabi. Please support more choice of courses, and diverse viewpoints. Please support improved grievance procedures, and better protection against retaliation directed at those who support these goals. No faculty member should ever be warned not to talk to the Deans.

Please reintroduce the tabled Lecturers Resolution to the Student Union Senate. Please don't let this issue die. Thank you for your kind wishes to "Save Professor Bauer," but we should also "Support Professor Schwiebert," and ALL Lecturers, here and everywhere. This is simply a matter of justice. I know SU was split over whether they should support me as a special case, or support real reform. In the end, they did neither. The best way to support me was, and still is, to support a change in the way this University treats its loyal faculty and other workers. This may not help me in the short run, but in the long run, we will all benefit if we make Washington University a better place.

Please consider taking my Religious Studies courses in the Cervantes Free University and Learning Cooperative (www.cfu-lc.com, 314-725-0815), and please consider teaching for cfu-lc, and recommending your professors to do so too (so far, three others have volunteered for the Learning Cooperative). Please remember that, although I have put up a determined fight, and will continue to do so, I am human, with feelings, and I can only take so much stress and provocation. Please respect my occasional desire to put my own health needs first. I hope that you all will continue to fight for education reform here and everywhere.

You are all invited to my cat Shevek's second birthday party, on Sunday, August 19, 5pm, at 6036 Pershing. My cat Felix will celebrate his first birthday on the same date. Please bring cat toys, catnip, cat food, or cat treats. I will serve vegetarian barbecue food. T-shirts promoting www.cfu-lc.com will be on sale for $10. I am paying for these myself, and if I sell them all, I will make a very small profit, to pay for my donated labor. Cfu courses are $5 a session, unless you want to donate more.

I love college teaching, there is nothing I would rather do. I have taught pro bono for the Religious Studies and Focus Programs before, and now all my teaching is pro bono, untill somebody decides to pay me again.

Once again, thank you for your support. You don't know how much this means to me.

Sincerely, loyally, and respectfully,

Former Lecturer Dr. Jerome Bauer

PS. I will be teaching a new cfu-lc course in Autumn, "Hindu Goals of Life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha." We will read some Dharma-shastra ("Lawbooks"), Artha-shastra (a text on polity and statecraft), and Kama-Sutra (not just sex but also aesthetics). Please keep checking the www.cfu-lc.com website. We will also proceed with Sanskrit classes, and I will teach "Karma and Rebirth" and "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability" in both Autumn and Spring semesters, and "Hindu Medicine and Indian Food" in Autumn. ALL of my twenty-plus courses are still available, on demand, for a very nominal gratuity. I plan to teach at least two sections of every class, one on Pershing Ave. and another on campus, probably Whispers.

PPS. The cfu-lc will have an Open House on Friday, August 24, from 3-5pm (just after the official RS Open House). Venue: 6036 Pershing. We may have another Open House at a different time and place.