As reported in the GW Hatchet, George Washington University’s student newspaper, faculty at GW have initiated a Faculty Association to look out for their interests beyond what the current Faculty Senate there is able or willing to do. Not surprisingly, GW’s response: talk to the hand.
By law, GW as a private institution has no obligation to recognize a faculty union, and a university spokesperson has been clear that it has no intention of meeting with the group, because “We don’t have conversations with faculty affiliated with those ad hoc organizations.” [More below the fold]
GW’s reluctance to talk to the Faculty Association is understandable on its face, but of course is also a way to stifle dissent. Rather, GW’s administration prefers to deal only through the Faculty Senate. For its part, the Faculty Senate, some of whose members appear to be active in the new organization, will be meeting with Faculty Association members.
We shouldn’t discount GW’s Faculty Senate’s activities in this case; it’s far from a rubber stamp, having effectively deep-sixed a very dubious GW scheme to expand into China. But it also hasn’t been able to stop GW’s plans to raise faculty health-care costs, increase administrative bloat, and so on.
GW may be saying “talk to the hand” now to the Faculty Association. Its future willingness to listen will depend upon two things: how strong an organization the Faculty Association can build, and how much GW’s administration wants to hold on to as much power as it can.