I hereby am going to counter each of your arguments about “offstage layoffs” at the Mailman School.
5. Un-occupy PROTESTS ARE EFFECTIVE AND WILL STOP THE LAYOFFS.
In addition, to take up so much attention for the fate of 2 faculty from one department—when there are many, many other departments with similar budget challenges, and even other faculty who are being laid off— is incredibly narcissistic.
To stage protests that the whole school endures with great patience, month after month, to repeat your same points without offering any actual solutions, is also a waste of everyone’s time.
To gain national publicity for the school in a manner which might discourage future students from enrolling here, and could also damage the school’s reputation or ranking, also is not only deeply damaging to your own department, but also to the long-term fiscal sustainability of the school. Oh, but I thought you were trying to help people keep their jobs. So I’m confused, why are you trying to increase the chances the school will lose revenue?
To write articles critiquing the addition of new trustees—who again might be able to contribute money to the school—because it is “corporatizing” the school is also insane. Shouldn’t you be celebrating that there might be some substitutions for the NIH cuts from new sources? Oh, I forgot, anything corporate must be evil. Even if it saves faculty jobs. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/opinion/2014/03/23/faculty-layoffs-mailman-are-bellwether-academic-corporatization
To take up a whole school assembly meeting to protest, and thereby prevent two faculty members from telling the school where they could be applying to get new research dollars, is also preventing those at the school from finding new funding resources. But I forgot, you don’t really care, at the end of the day, about anyone but yourself.
I speak on behalf of many at the Mailman School—uncounted and silent in their annoyance at your protests. I speak on behalf of many who have actually led successful protests at other institutions, that created actual change.
We sympathize with your sadness and anger with layoffs. But your protests are only gaining negative attention to you, your cause, and the faculty involved; and has the significant potential to reduce funding for the school, which will lead to more layoffs. But clearly, helping prevent layoffs is not your real agenda. Having a tantrum is.
Faculty members, even ones who have dedicated themselves to one institution for years, can find new jobs. The Mailman School can’t undo the PR damage you are doing. And your protests are going to lead to more financial losses, and more faculty and staff cuts. Why are you doing this to your own colleagues?
What you are doing might feel emotionally satisfying to you. After that, it is not productive, to the school, to the SMS department, or to anyone else. And unfortunately, protests do not raise money.
HOW ABOUT SOME ACTUAL SOLUTIONS?
Perhaps you could take your energy that is currently being wasted and start a kickstarter campaign, raise money by selling your colorful t-shirts, or organizing a walkathon. Or maybe write to your representatives or lobby congress to try to influence NIH funding decisions. But that would require you to act like a grown-up.
Think for a minute about justice. Is it just and fair that a whole school should suffer because two faculty— who have been told for years that they are grant-funded and that there is no more funding to serve as a backup for their salaries—are being let go?