For new readers...

Welcome! Please do a search with the Google box to the right if you have a question and pick a name if posting a comment. Remember to come back and read the comments if you post a question. Please ask permission before republishing my work.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Activism alive and well at UVA

At my first institution (and at my alma mater, too), a huge issue that faculty and administration tried to address was student apathy. The majority of Wall Street Journals went immediately from the mailbox to the recycling bin. Almost nobody watched the news networks or even the evening news. Most students were content with living in the pretty bubble of campus.

I have to admit that I'm pleased to see that UVA students are more aware of issues and will act when they feel they can bring about change. Perhaps that's one of the benefits of "student self-governance", which gets a lot of talk around here. Most of us (myself included) use UVA's Honor Code as an example of student self-governance. But to be frank, there's a long history to follow with The Honor Code and while aspects of The Code change now and then (the single sanction is a hot topic on grounds right now), The Code and how it's administered isn't rocket science.



A group of 17 students have started a sit in at Madison Hall, where the President and other top administrators have their offices. They're advocating for a living wage ($10.72 per hour) to be paid to all University employees (the current hourly wage is $9.37). I only heard about this at 5:30 PM, when I got home and turned on the news (I knew there was a rally, but didn't realize students had started a sit in). When I came to work this morning, I saw some students outside Madison with a sign counting this as the second day of the sit in. I had to laugh, since this whole thing started at 5:30 last night. Or so I thought...

One of the students involved is keeping a blog, though it hasn't been updated since yesterday. They actually arrived around 9 AM yesterday morning. I'm kind of surprised that word didn't really travel around that they were there until late in the day. Anyway, according to the living wage campaign's website, they were allowed to stay in Madison Hall overnight. I'm anxious to see what gets added to the blog today.

EDIT: I had a feeling that President Casteen didn't set the minimum wage for UVA employees. At the very least, the Board of Visitors (our version of a Board of Trustees) made those decisions and I imagine that there's a bit of influence from the legislature involved as well (I'm still relatively new to UVA and the state system, so I'm not entirely certain). A statement on Casteen's website talks about this. I wonder when the next Board meeting is?