Dr. Sam Mitrani’s comments to the BOT | Aug 15, 2019

Hello, my name is Sam Mitrani. I am a full-time faculty member in history.

As my students know, the study of history revolves around the search for the causes of things – We ask “why” questions — why did an economic crisis, a revolution, a war, or a social movement take place?

In that vein, I have to ask – why has the board taken such an aggressive stance against the faculty in these negotiations? Why has the board proposed to destroy our long-standing pay structure and impose an extremely ill-conceived and onerous system of evaluation on us, breaking with the way this school has been run in recent memory? Why would the board try to hire replacement teachers while negotiations are still ongoing? Why would the board make these moves, after faculty have, for years, agreed to give up pay and health care and accepted to do increasing amounts of work on one project after another?

The administration’s attacks on faculty are clearly detrimental to our students and to the whole College of DuPage community.

They seem designed to provoke an entirely avoidable labor dispute – faculty are certainly not itching for a fight, though we are not willing to see our working conditions and compensation undermined.

They also seem designed to demoralize the people who do the actual teaching at this school.

If the administration’s proposals are eventually imposed, they will seriously degrade our working conditions – which are our students’ learning conditions.

As the administration often points out, COD has an extremely talented, accomplished, and effective faculty. I am constantly impressed by my colleagues. The board’s proposals – and its disturbing habit of revoking hiring offers from people who have already gone through all the other steps to be hired here – will obviously make it increasingly difficult to hire and retain faculty of this level in the future. If being a faculty member here is made less attractive, the quality of the faculty will decline, which will obviously negatively affect our students.

How would that make us a “center of excellence?”

The college can clearly afford a reasonable contract. The college stands only to lose by provoking a labor dispute, and/or by imposing a contract that will be demoralizing and worsen teaching and learning conditions.

So, to circle back, why would the board do this? What is the cause of this problem?

I can really think of only two possibilities. Either 1) a significant number of board members really don’t understand the consequences that will flow from these actions. If that is the case, please realize that the path you are embarking on is destructive to this institution, our students, and the community.

Or, 2) some board members are willing to hurt the college, in order to make a name for themselves as anti-teacher, anti-labor politicians, hoping this will somehow help their careers. If this is the case, I urge the other board members to resist this nefarious counsel.