Students and faculty rally against budget cuts at Valentine’s Day teach-in


Cullen Paradis, Staff Writer

Students and faculty gathered at noon Feb. 14 on the steps of the Howe Library to protest the administration’s recent decisions to lay off humanities professors and increase course sizes.

The Valentine’s Day teach-in was organized by United Academics, the faculty union, along with the Coalition for Student and Faculty Rights, a student group focused on protesting cuts made by the administration. The demonstration began with speeches from students and faculty and ended with chants.

UA President Sarah Alexander, associate professor of English, said that one of the goals of the demonstration was to bring attention to cuts made to faculty in the liberal arts.

“From the Union’s perspective, we want the administration to reinstate the two faculty members that have been laid off in romance languages and in classics” Alexander said. “We also want them to restore the full-time equivalencies of 10 faculty members who had their full-time jobs cut to less than full-time jobs.”

Additionally, the faculty wanted to protest changes made to course sizes and the lack of transparency in the presidential search process,  she said.

“We also want to promise that courses under the 100-level in the College of Arts and Sciences will not be increased to 60 students,” she said. “We want to demand a transparent presidential search process. That means bringing more than one finalist to campus.”

Sophomore Cobalt Tolbert, a member of the Coalition and the International Socialist Organization, attended the rally. He said that the Coalition intended to continue and possibly escalate demonstrations in support of UA until their concerns were addressed.

“I think that the student coalition is more than willing to put themselves on the line for their own education,” Tolbert said. “It really depends on the administration and how much they’re willing to take us seriously.”

Tolbert also accused the administration of failing to acknowledge their demands and possibly intentionally misleading faculty in emails.

“The administration has been alleging that there is misinformation going around, and then they themselves give a lot out. I know they’ve been contacting UA faculty very condescendingly, with messages that don’t attack the brunt of what we’re trying to do here,” Tolbert said.

Senior Tim Quesnell, a member of the Coalition, expressed confidence in the effectiveness of the demonstration.

“We’re getting the message across that we want to make the university a better place for everyone currently going there, and we will take the steps forward to actually make that happen.” he said. “There are a lot of people upset with the changes that are happening, and I think that if everyone comes together then we can make change.”