We’re a bit curious as to why our esteemed faculty temporarily defaced our campus last week. Our curiosity extends so far as to ask why they used colored sidewalk chalk to engrave their desire for a new contract on the sidewalks and walkways of the academic quad and surrounding areas. It seems awfully juvenile, doesn’t it? University Ambassadors are WCU students who volunteer their time to give tours to prospective and incoming students. An ambassador shared a story with us last week about a woman on his tour that asked why our faculty “would try to demonstrate competence by drawing on a sidewalk.” How should a student tour guide respond to such an inquiry?
The messages were varying and direct, yet virtually failed to influence anyone because it is difficult to take anything written in pink, one-inch thick sidewalk chalk seriously. The graffiti ranged from informative messages such as “fac contract expires 6/30/07,” to pop culture references such as “show us the money,” to the ominous “be ready.” One of the messages was even misspelled, demonstrating exactly the level of competence one would want to reward with a pay raise. The photo below showcases the above error and reminds anyone walking along Rosedale Avenue near High Street that the “faculty contract exires” on June 30.
The maturity is obviously lacking. Of all things, the writing instrument chosen to relay the message-sidewalk chalk-is the choice writing instrument of six-year-olds. Can anyone imagine any of their professors down on their hands and knees, scrawling on the ground with a piece of chalk? If you can, you probably don’t think that they deserve a raise.
Let’s think of the alternatives. Educators should be the first to implement the use of hand-outs and flyers to get the word out. Not to mention they could distribute a press release or pay for advertising. Coincidentally, APSCUF-WCU (Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties West Chester University Chapter) paid for an advertisement in this issue of The Quad (see page 14). If APSCUF purchased an advertisement showcasing their stance on the issue, it might have been seen as a decent attempt to influence those in charge-and they could have saved a ton of chalk.
And we’re ignoring the fact that the students of West Chester University do not participate in faculty contract negotiations with the State System of Higher Education. Aside from the potential for disrupted summer classes, which only a fraction of full-time students enroll in, a faculty strike is essentially meaningless to most students. Even if most students did care, the messages seem to solicit some type of action – the type of action that students are incapable of taking.
The Quad is neither for or against APSCUF’s attempt to negiotiate for a new contact nor are we for or against the State System’s apparent unwillingness to negotiate with the faculty union. We have not looked into the matter and spoken with the appropriate individuals. Yet. We plan on looking into the matter and bringing our thoughts to you in a future issue. This editorial is solely about the immaturity that we believe has been exhibited by one or more members of the WCU faculty. We have, in fact, confirmed that a member of the faculty is responsible for the messages. To whoever is responsible, we leave you with the following definition and ask that next time, you chose a “cleaner” way to convey your message to us:
graf.fi.ti [gruh-fee-tee] -noun: writings or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.