Faculty Activism Alive and Well in Ohio

Faced with some of the most drastic antiunion legislation in the country, faculty in Ohio joined forces this spring with other workers and unions in a coalition, We Are Ohio, determined to win back workers’ rights in the state. The coalition led a successful effort to place the legislation, known as S.B. 5, on November’s ballot for a referendum.

Organizing Cleveland State

Whew! It had been a trying day—a long slog of a day, and it never let up. Organizing faculty members— convincing them to get beyond their all-encompassing scholarship to support a collective political objective— was a daunting challenge. As an associate professor of political science, the president of the university’s AAUP chapter, and the driving force behind the unionization campaign at Cleveland State University, Rodger Govea knew he might fail. He shook his head, trudging from his AAUP office to his car; he had been on the front lines all day.

The Ballot Battleground

On the night of November 8, 2011, Ohio governor John Kasich stepped before reporters to admit that the centerpiece legislation of his administration, Senate Bill 5, had been heavily defeated in a referendum by Ohio voters.

“It’s clear the people have spoken,” Kasich said. “I heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly, I respect what the people have to say in an effort like this. And as a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath and to spend some time to reflect on what happened here.”

What Faculty Unions Can Learn from Workload Policy in Ohio

Faculty workloads have been a subject of ongoing discussion in this magazine and elsewhere. Many outside academia (and a few within) view faculty members as ivory-towered elitists, with too few obligations to students or their institutions.

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