URGENT: All Washington University students and alumni are urged to petition Student Union, to show support for a strengthened Lecturer's Policy (and to show support for individual college teachers, including me). Let's seize this unique opportunity to begin fundamental educational reform, setting a new standard for other schools to follow. WE are Washington University, and WE can be leaders, and change the rules. If you are not from Washington University, you can help too. Please keep reading, to see how.

Please check this website for the time and place. While we are waiting, please write to Student Union President Paul Moinester. [12/18/06: Student Union will address this probably before Spring Break, with a revised Lecturer's Policy resolution with more "teeth," to be presented to the Faculty Senate, etc. as well, and a separate resolution dealing specifically with my case. Please mail your petitions directly to: Coop Library, 6036 Pershing Avenue, St Louis, MO 63112-1310, as soon as possible]. [Text of a Flier on Lecturer's Policy Reform]

Student Union wants to take the next step, but needs to see more student support. Apparently, one letter of testimonial (the one published in Student Life) and 350+ signatures are not enough [600-700 would be better]. We know of at least three different petitions, and these have not all been collected. We also know of many letters written to various Administrators. Unfortunately the last meeting conflicted with Ashoka's Diwali practice and everyone had very short notice. Please turn out and show your support in January. Send your letters to the resolution sponsor, Bharath Mohan, bmw303@gmail.com, NOT to me. Please support Lecturer's Policy reform, so no faculty member should ever again have to depend on student petitions to keep a job here.

Many of you have asked how to get the petition. Several petitions are circulating. Here is one. You may print this, collect signatures, and leave it at the Coop Perry building, 6021 Pershing. [Bauer Petition}, or at the Coop Library building, 6036 Pershing. Students have also volunteered to set up an online petition. You may also send letters to the administrators listed here: Administrators, and to Religious Studies Chair Beata Grant, bgrant@artsci.wustl.edu.

{Read more: What can colleagues do?)
(Read more:
What can alumni and prospective students do?)

I love my job, and I love Washington University and its community. This is my dream job, and all I want (for myself) is to keep it. For our community, we need more, so please keep reading...

Here is my response to arguments reportedly raised at the last SU meeting by Administrators, in response to the tabled Resolution Supporting Lecturers:

To Whom It May Concern:

I heard about the Student Union Senate discussion (11/8/06) of a resolution calling for a strengthened Lecturer's Policy, second hand from several attendees. If the reports are accurate, some specious arguments were raised. I do not know who made these arguments, or whether or not they were actually made at this meeting. In any case, here is my response.

First, I thank the Student Union Senate for taking up this issue, and for being ready to take the next step to improve college teaching, in the interest of your constituents, the consumers of a very expensive product, a Washington University education. I also thank the Administration for sending representatives, some of whom, I hear, made statements that could be interpreted as supporting better job security and respect for college teachers, if one reads between the lines. I urge students to learn to read between the lines. I am much more direct than most Administrators. Some students noted the patronizing and condescending tone of the Administrators. This is just the way they talk, it does not mean they are bad people. Perhaps they are afraid of change. Perhaps they too are afraid of losing their jobs. We have nothing to fear if we come together as a community.

I am especially thankful to my many student and alumni supporters (including the WashU Coop, Student Life, Ashoka, Student-Worker Alliance, and KWUR), and to the supporters of other outspoken Lecturers. Student Life and the Student Worker Alliance deserve special praise for keeping education reform on the agenda in Autumn 2006; please let's keep the discussion going. (Please see Media Scrapbook). Some of you are concerned that I am being "played," used as a political pawn, ultimately to be sacrificed. This may be true, but I don't consider myself a victim. I am honored to play, to win benefits for our students. I was introduced at a recent Leadership Lunch, at which I was invited to give an informal talk about expansion of our cooperative network, as someone who "mixes it up and takes risks." Thank you for the compliment. I promise to use my new freedom to benefit our community, raising issues that others are afraid to discuss. After all, what do I have to lose? If you have complaints, please bring them to me, and I will air them if you are afraid to exercise your right to free speech. You may publish anonymously on my website, or I may lend you my name, as I have done before when I was last involved in politics, at the University of Pennsylvania. I have worked hard to claim my right to speak freely, and so can you.

Now, concerning what was reportedly discussed at the meeting...

The claim that Lecturers are not second class faculty is easily refuted. We cannot get tenure, and the Lecturer's Policy clearly states that we are subordinate to the tenure-track and tenured faculty. Many opportunities are not open to us (e.g. certain Faculty Fellow positions). Teaching is no longer institutionally rewarded in the way publication is rewarded.

The claim that tenure is nowhere granted for teaching is simply false. Right here at Washington University, it was once possible to earn tenure solely for college teaching (e.g David Hadas). The University of Chicago has a strong tradition of rewarding college teaching, even granting tenure in the College (the real elite part of that University) for faculty who had been denied tenure by their Departments. For example, my teacher Richard Taub was granted tenure in the Social Sciences Collegiate Division, in response to a student petition drive, after having been denied tenure in Sociology. He was able to continue his community study of Chicago's South Shore, with the aid of his students, and he eventually became full Professor in the College, and an Associate Member of the Sociology Department. Many schools now call themselves "Teaching Universities," granting institutional rewards for teaching. One such institution, St. John's College in New Mexico, has a culture which informally discourages its faculty from doing research unrelated to their teaching, and strongly encourages its faculty to put teaching before any kind of publication. (I hear this from a former classmate who once taught there).

I am rather surprised to hear that any Administrator here would deny the legacy of the late David Hadas, who made refusal to publish anything a point of honor (this was acknowledged at his public memorial service). Professor Hadas was one of the strongest proponents of total dedication to college teaching and mentorship, and also a strong supporter of Religious Studies (although he was ambivalent about the prospect of "upgrading" our Program to a full Department, because he felt that the focus would shift away from college teaching to PhD training; my own position is that Religious Studies should be upgraded to a full Department for graduate teaching and research, but I believe Departments should be abolished altogether in the College, in favor of a Divisional system, following the University of Chicago model). This University's PR people hyped Professor Hadas' "Bible as Literature" course, and portrayed his death as a heroic martyrdom to college teaching, which it most certainly was. Professor Hadas refused chemotherapy lest it interfere with his teaching, and died halfway through a course on value formation. A plaque with his likeness has been placed in Ridgley 107, a classroom in which I have taught. I attended his memorial service, to pay my respects alongside his many students and colleagues. We have had many students in common, who write his pithy "Hadas-isms" into their papers, so that we may pass them on to our own students. Why then do some of you Washington University administrators and faculty pretend not to have heard of him when it suits your interests? Have you no shame? I have heard colleagues describe tenure for teaching as an "older model." Perhaps we should return to our best traditions, not deny or belittle them.

Perhaps the real problem some people here have with me is that it is difficult to hype me for PR. I have approached my job as an honest job, not a vehicle for academic stardom. Practically everything I have done in the eight years I have been here has been an anti-career move, by conventional assumptions. Miraculously,, I am still here, and here to stay.

The argument that teaching and research are not mutually exclusive has merit, but this is really an insult to me personally. What do you think I have been doing, pulling my courses and class notes out of my nether region? My courses are unusually well organized and researched, especially the ones with my unique multi-track syllabi, as any of my students can tell you. When one of them suggests to a Dean or another faculty member that everyone should teach this way, the answer always comes back to me, via the student, "But he's not TENURE TRACK." Yes, thankfully I am not, or I could not devote my full time to my students, researching for them, not for my self-promotion. Lecturers and Professors have different roles, and should be honored and respected for what they do. And frankly, at this time, and under the current Arts and Sciences leadership, I am not sure I would want to publish anything that would get me tenure here. I have almost lost faith in the integrity of the hiring and promotion process at Washington University, which I believe is biased against "religion friendly" and "student friendly" approaches, in teaching and research. I will eventually write up my class syllabi and lecture notes as textbooks, but this sort of publication, although most valuable to students, will not earn me tenure here, under the current system. Also, this sort of publication cannot be churned out to meet a quota, it has to be based on years of classroom experience. See A textbook example, Student Life 12/4/06)

Even so, if I had just six months, or a year, of sabbatical, I could publish quite a lot. I have so many ideas for papers and other works, based on my well-cited and influential dissertation, and most especially, my lecture notes. But Lecturers do not have sabbatical. Nor do we even really have sick leave. I recently had eye surgery for my glaucoma, having virtually lost the use of my right eye, and I require extensive followup treatment. I cannot take time off (even if I wanted to, and I do not) without being replaced.

I cannot even attend an academic conference any more without being surrounded by people who obviously want my job and are trying to find out when they can apply, and how to gain some advantage over me. That is why I don't go to conventions any more, and have let some society memberships lapse. I find this behavior distasteful and do not want to keep such company. Perhaps when I have some semblance of job security I will rejoin some of these groups, and I am sure I can find some decent people in this business, who are less interested in competition for power and more interested in cooperation and community building, and the love of truth.

I hear that one of the Administrators noted that "community service" is one of the criteria for advancement at this institution. Thank you. That is what I have been doing, sincerely, with all my heart and soul. Please put your money where your mouth is (as I am doing).

The argument that Lecturers really want to be Professors may be true in some cases, but I am sure many Professors, and Administrators, would love to be Lecturers if only they could. I think we should recruit more faculty who are really dedicated to teaching and mentorship, if we don't already have enough of them here. Some Lecturers are undeniably poor teachers, and some Professors are good teachers. Everybody should be able to do what they do best, and be rewarded by this institution, not punished. Students should be free to study with whomever they please. Not every teaching style suits every student.

The argument that Assistant Professors also have a one year contract is not always true. Lecturers and Professors have contracts of varying lengths. Length of contract is not the issue, really. The issue is, can the Administration, or Program Chair, change the rules on us whenever they like? Yes, under the current system, but it should not be this way.

Program Chairs should also respect the intellectual property rights of faculty, while we live and after our deaths. Our courses are personal, our signatures left for posterity. In my case, all of my courses except "Hinduism An Introduction" (now called "The Hindu Traditions," perhaps for ideological reasons) and "Theories of Religion" (now called "Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion") are mine, and may not be assigned to anyone else without my permission. Syllabi and course content of the two aforementioned courses not inherited from previous teachers are my intellectual property as well. The Focus course, "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability" was DEFINITELY given to me by my former co-teacher, twice; his "quit claim" was quite convincing. I may voluntarily give my courses or course materials to other teachers (as other teachers have done for me), when I have some semblance of job security. Ultimately, I plan to publish all my course materials, online in the public domain, and in textbook format, only when I am ready.

Teaching faculty should also have some control over our course cross-listings as well. My policy is always to support a cross-listing requested by a student, and to take suggestions made by colleagues on a case by case basis. For example, I have refused an East Asian Studies cross-listing for my signature course, "Karma and Rebirth," on philosophical grounds, because karma is a South Asian concept, not East Asian, and an American Culture Studies and/or Film and Media Studies cross-listing would be no less appropriate. The more important reason for my rejection of this cross-listing is political: this was, in my judgment (and at least one colleague seems to have concurred), an obvious attempt to take the course away from me, to classify it as one of those "non-tradition-specific courses that anyone can teach," which my signature course most certainly is not. Please, let's all respect each others' labor, and let's respect the memory of deceased faculty as well. Would they really want their courses assigned to someone else? How do we know? Why not at least change course titles when other faculty teach a similar course? Please, let's set some good precedents here at Washington University, for other schools to follow. We can be a leader in education reform.

Please, everyone support a clear, legally binding distinction between personal "signature courses," which may not be assigned to another faculty member, and which may be freely taught at other Universities, or online, by their owners, and "service courses," which may be assigned by Program Chairs to other faculty. This is important if any University is ever to employ "temporary" college teachers. Let's take the leadership and set some good precedents here at Washington University. Then we can all take credit!

By the way, I had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my signature course "Karma and Rebirth" fulfills the "Cultural Diversity" requirment, while my other signature course, "Miracles, Marvels, and Magic," companion to K&R, does not. The paperwork for K&R was submitted by somebody else, I know not who, for what purpose I do not know. I was not informed of this (it is nice not to have to do the paperwork, but I get the blame if it does not get done). On the other hand, I supported the unsuccessful student petition to get MMM to fulfill the CD requirement, and the ultimately successful student initiative to get my "Hinduism" An Introduction" course to fulfill the CD. I had to make a lot of noise to get this through, on behalf of my Hindu students who felt they were being steered away from study of their own heritage for no good reason. I feel that enrollment was kept artificially low in this course, for no good reason. (By the way, MMM's enrollment is going through the roof, although it is not appropriately clustered and does not fulfill any ArtSci requirement. Students do not have to be forced to take my courses, and if anybody is envious of this, that is your problem). Really, the CD requirement is for courses on "non-Western" culture, so virtually all of my courses should have had that designation, without all this arcane University politics.

Many students have complained that my courses do not fulfill the Writing Intensive requirement, even though I require more writing than many courses with that designation, and I make a point of correcting students grammar and spelling, and commenting on their style when necessary. I have never applied for a WI designation because such courses must adhere to a formula, and I have no intention of reorganizing my syllabi to fit this requirement. Many of my students over the years have been able to get writing intensive credit for my courses when transferring to other universities.

The Lecturer's Policy does not distinguish between so-called "pre-tenure track" Lecturers and any other kind, as far as I can tell (and other faculty and students support my reading of the Policy). Even if we admit that such trial appointments are valuable in some cases, there should be a statute of limitations on this, perhaps two or three years at the most. This is my eighth year here. PLEASE support a three year cap on so-called "temporary" positions. After three years, we all have a right to some kind of career path, of our own choice, and the right to reassignment within the University if we so desire.

The Lecturer's Policy specities six years as a turning point, after which we have a right to expect our trial period to be over. Our contract makes clear that we have no job security at all, but the Lecturer's Policy implies otherwise. This discrepancy must be resolved, by a legal challenge only if absolutely necessary. Is the Lecturer's Policy real, or a mere public relations fraud, like so much at this University? (When I resolved to test this policy in the summer of 2003, I suspected as much, but there is only one way to find out, isn't there? Please see R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Letter to Defenders of the Status Quo, Free Speech: Is It Possible, Is It Even Allowed?, Cast the Money Changers Out of the [Jain] Temple, Washington University of Utopia, Abolition of Tuition, Money Back Guarantee, and My Plan for Autumn 2007-Spring 2008, and Beyond)

The economic reason for hiring only one person to teach the South Asian religion courses makes no sense. Everyone who knows anything about the current Washington University Religious Studies Program knows that my courses, and Frank Flinn's, are the most heavily enrolled, and the most reliably offered. My courses are in high demand, and I teach double the normal load, by choice. No Assistant Professor who has to publish a lot could possibly teach as many students, and give them all personal attention (as I do even in big lecture courses, when we meet in our tutorial groups). If I am hired as an Assistant Professor, my priorities would have to change, and I do not want this. You are kidding yourselves if you think Washington University could find anyone else who "does all that and PUBLISH too!" If my position changes to tenure-track, enrollment in Religious Studies would drop precipitously. This may be the real motive behind this change, an ideologically motivated move by some in the University against Religious Studies (and I am not the only one who thinks so). I can give you plenty of evidence for this if you wish, but I prefer not to name any names.

(Read more: A litany of complaints)

I have had my cross-listings with certain Departments and Programs pulled for no legitimate reason, and I have had some students enticed away from a Religious Studies major, and away from my courses. Student petitions to have my courses count for certain degree requirements have not been granted, for no good reason as far as anyone can tell. One faculty member whose course I included in a cluster proposal sent me an angry email in capital letters demanding that I remove his course from my list! My courses are apparently thought to be too "theological," i.e. I take religious ideas seriously on their own terms, rather than "real historical stuff that people can recognize," i.e. neo-Marxist dogma. (I have nothing against Marxists, but I find it easier to respect those who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk; that is, actively support worker's rights, including the Living Wage campaign and Lecturer's Policy reform). Most of the trouble seems to be coming from those with a commitment to some kind of "postmodern" or "post-human" or "post-structuralist" thinking, a rather vulgar ideological form of deconstructionism. I do not share this perspective, and I have learned to watch my back around those who really believe in it. Complaints about this have been largely ineffectual, so far. I hear from many students that similar issues led to the replacement of the Architecture School Dean. Perhaps it is time for a regime change in Arts and Sciences, to deal with the serious structural problems with our curriculum and division of labor. I do not expect Student Union to endorse this, but the Washington University community should discuss it.

Obviously, year-to-year contract teachers are most vulnerable in this cutthroat environment. Harassment becomes attractive as a political tool, for those without scruples. I have done my best to ignore various petty insults probably intended to make me feel unwelcome so I will just leave and get out of some empire builder's way. None of this can be personal, because I do not even know these people, but it makes my job less pleasant than it could be. Please stop this, it is not right, and it makes our University look bad. You, and the University, must be held morally (and legally) responsible, if you persist.

Why not just hire me as Senior Lecturer, or even Associate Professor for College Teaching, and hire a new Assistant Professor? We could alternate courses, including even the Hindu Traditions course (his or her version would be completely different from mine, but that will be okay). This would free me to teach more of my creative comparative courses, or to teach such popular courses as Yoga Traditions and Karma and Rebirth more regularly. We could meet the growing demand for our courses, paid for, after all, by student tuition. Any one student's tuition could pay my base salary for a year. So the economic argument is especially specious, really an assertion that the consumers of a very expensive product should have no say.

In Spring 2003 a number of my colleagues congratulated me on having won a teaching award. I knew nothing about this. One colleague even informed me that the students really appreciate the fact that I "always put my students first." I don't know who said this, and I thought it was an exaggeration, until I did my self-analysis. I could not think of any time when I did not drop whatever I was doing to help a student. I have been almost able to keep this up even now, with very high enrollment in my courses, thanks especially to my excellent TAs. I don't know what happened, but I am still waiting for that rumored teaching award. Not that I teach for a prize, teaching is its own reward.

When I checked the University website in Summer 2003, I learned something interesting. Why is there a policy against giving teaching awards for anyone who has been here less than seven years? When, why, and by whom was this discriminatory policy made?

To Administrators who claim that the search to replace me is fair, I know it is not. The Associate Dean attempted to talk me into giving up my Four Year Advising duties on the grounds that this would be best for the students, in the interest of "continuity." (I did not fall for it). The Arts and Sciences Dean gave me a year to leave campus (see Open Letter to Dean Macias), and in his form letter response to student and alumni testimonials on my behalf, he claims that what my supporters describe is only one part of a long teaching tradition which must now end. The Religious Studies Chair let me know that, although I could apply, I would not get the job. However, I was told that this decision, effectively to fire me, did not apply to University College and Summer School. I was encouraged to stay here and do even more teaching here, and at local colleges in walking distance, on a course by course basis. Anyone who knows how little these courses pay knows that one cannot make a living this way (University College instructors are paid less than a TA is paid to assist with a course). I was encouraged to stay here, "be creative," and "cook up something" on my own, to provide health insurance, and to make up for lost benefits. This is rank exploitation, by any standards, taking shameless advantage of my good nature and loyalty, but in a way, a homage to my contributions to the Program over the years. Religious Studies needs me, and everybody knows it. I am still loyal to that Program, and I have resolved to stay here and fight for the reform and expansion of this Program. It is time Religious Studies, and Washington University, show some loyalty to me.

To my student supporters, many of you signed a petition on my behalf. The most widely circulated petition calls on the University to safeguard my position here, in other words, preserve the status quo., what I have been doing and what the students have come to expect me to do. This would involve rehiring me as Lecturer in Religious Studies, so that I may continue to teach my full portfolio of courses, including especially my favorite course, Focus 2310-11, "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability," as announced in my Five Year Plan. The status quo also includes a $700 budget for educational events in support of the WashU Coop and Religious Studies, in lieu of my $700 "self-promotion" budget to send me to an academic conference, following precedents set in the last three years. In the petition, no mention was made of any promotion or pay raise, so student support for this cannot be assumed. This status quo is my minimum demand. Probably most of those who signed support some kind of educational reform, and a strengthened Lecturer's Policy, but that is not explicitly mentioned in the petition. This is why we are bringing these issues before Student Union. The petition's call to "safeguard" my position probably implies some policy change, so that we don't have to do this again next year, for me or anybody else. The Religious Studies Chair told me to "be creative" and "cook up something," on behalf of the students. Let's take her advice.

To Administrators, please stop hiding behind your lawyers, and speak freely, so we can respect what you say. I realize that many of you are implicated in the sexual harassment and assault cover-up scandal. Students blew the whistle on this, because you failed to do so. Please come clean on this. Please sthow more respect to your loyal faculty who speak up for our rights, and for our students' interests. Why don't we all come down from our castles, clasp hands as equals, and ask each others' pardon for all our transgressions, as the Jains do every year? This is the only way to go on, as a community of equals, scholars in pursuit of truth. We should follow our University's own motto, per veritatem vis, "strength through truth," truth and reconcilation.

To Student Union Senators who do not believe these are issues for SU, I respectfully disagree. You students are the reason we are here.

I respectfully request that Student Union take up the following issues: rights of all handicapped people, minorities, and women; medical leave policy for Lecturers and Adjunct Professors; sabbatical for Lecturers and Adjunct Professors; protection of intellectual rights of faculty to their own syllabi, courses, and course descriptions; curriculum reform; autonomy for the College; free speech issues and the so-called "neutrality policy"; freedom of association and freedom to organize without fear of harassment; access of students to their advisors; restoration of the Social Thought and Analysis Program; and, most especially, expansion of the Religious Studies and Women and Gender Studies Programs to full Department status to meet student demand. Please let's consider upgrading the "current events" oriented "International and Area Studies Program" to a "Civilizational Studies Department," including robust humanistic and textual-historical approaches, not limited to postmodern comparative literature and transnational cultural studies perspectives, to give students more choice.

The Mahatma Gandhi taught us satyagraha, firmly grasping the way things ought to be (satya). In practice, this means firm insistence on one's minimum demands, and creative action in accord with one's basic values. This is utopian social action, setting good examples for everyone to follow, making the ideal into the actual. When something is not right, it is our duty, as individuals and as a community, to make it right.

(Please see Minimum Demands and Principles)
(Please see Petition to Support Lecturer's Policy Reform)

I call upon students and alumni to turn out to support these goals, at the next open meeting of Student Union. Let's all help make Student Union relevant.

Respectfully,

Jerome Bauer

per veritatem vis
leges sine moribus vanae
crescat scientia vita excolatur

Resolution Advocating Increased Protection of Lectureship Positions

WHEREAS lecturers are defined as any individuals that are not tenured, tenure-tracked, or on the research and are primarily engaged in teaching;

WHEREAS lecturers and professors both play distinct and indispensable roles in students' scholastic development;

WHEREAS individuals governed by the university Policy on Full-Time Lecturers will continue to receive the same level of benefits as other full-time university employees;

WHEREAS the University administration places a premium on professorship positions for their ability to foster a culture of innovation and progress at Washington University;

WHEREAS students recognize the importance of research to the integrity of a University institution and also indirectly realize the benefits of this research;

WHEREAS students place a premium on the accessibility and availability of their instructors;

WHEREAS the student-focused nature of the lectureship position gives instructors greater freedom to tailor their instruction to the individual needs of students;

WHEREAS job security plays a major role in attracting and retaining exceptional lecturers and professors;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Student Union Senate believes that professors and lecturers play unique, yet equally significant roles in the education of students at Washington University;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Student Union Senate strongly urges the University administration to achieve a reasonable balance in the resources it dedicates to research and teaching instruction;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Student Union Senate strongly encourages the University to offer greater protections to lectureship positions in the interest of attracting excellent instructors and taking greater responsibility in retaining instructors with a demonstrated talent in teaching;

Bharath Mohan Eric Gradel

Treasury Representative Business School Senator

Sponsor Sponsor

Eric Gradel Paul Moinester

Speaker of the Senate Student Union President