This past Friday morning, October 19th, I attended the first public meeting of the Wright State University Board of Trustees for the 2018/19 school year. The room was packed with members and supporters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), all there to speak up on their position in regards to their ongoing contract negotiations with the administration. I was proud to sit amongst the leaders of not just the AAUP, but also the AFL-CIO, as they attempted to avert a possible labor strike that could cripple WSU if allowed to occur.
Three women ultimately spoke directly to the board on behalf of the faculty during the meeting, and each delivered an impassioned and straight-to-the-point speech that made it quite clear a line has been drawn. Tenure as a bedrock for maintaining the integrity of institutions of higher learning is not up for negotiation. Any attempts to weaken the academic mission of the university will not be tolerated. How impressive it is that these professionals are willing to stand strong against these attempts to weaken their ability to effectively educate our people! Wright State is the hub of innovation in District 73. We must keep its standards high, and we must not allow our educational institutions to fall victim to attempts to corporatize their mission. Having a board of trustees that are business people, and not educators and academics, is an invitation for disaster. And nowhere is that more evident than what we’ve seen happen right here at WSU.
I also found it very interesting that there were NO Greene County elected officials at this extremely important meeting. Their Democratic counterparts from Montgomery County were in attendance, though. How is it that these officials from the neighboring county understand how important this institution is to our future, when our own Greene County Republican officials cannot?
The choice is clear. Democrats work for you. They work for your schools and for your future. For OUR future. These Republicans work for themselves. They work to break up unions and weaken labor and environmental protections, all the while undermining our institutions of education at seemingly every turn. One only has to look at what has happened to Wright State over the previous eight years under Republican state control, to say nothing of the precipitous slide in in the quality of Ohio’s public education system over that same period, to know where my opponent’s party’s priorities lie.
I stand with the hard-working faculty at Wright State, and supporting them and the needs of the students they serve. I demand that those who created this financial disaster be punished for that mistake, and it not be taken out on the people who make WSU what it is, people who had nothing to do with creating the mess in the first place. We must put people first.