Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Physical Facilities employee cuts highlight university’s poor definition of love and honor

TO THE EDITOR:

In response to the "Staff Cuts Responsible for Slow Maintenance Results" article, written by Jack Christianson and printed in the Tuesday, Oct. 13 issue.

I am a 2004 Miami graduate and formerly the Column Editor for the Amusement Magazine. I've been receiving the alumni magazine, The Miamian and periodic letters asking for my donations to the Love & Honor campaign. I've seen amazing pictures of the new Armstrong Student Center and Garland Hall, so I decided to take a drive on a beautiful fall day and visit the campus to see the changes for myself.

As I drove into campus, I passed a bus that was heading to the Ditmer parking lot. I did a double-take. Was that the Miami Metro? As I approached Patterson, I noticed that the roof of Shideler Hall was crawling with construction workers. I turned right and looked for my freshman dorm, Reid Hall. Gone. In its place was an enormous building, the Farmer School of Business.

I parked my car Uptown and took a stroll to King Library, where I had worked all four years at Miami. I was stunned. The first floor had been refurbished, making it a more open, inviting space. The third floor - a construction site in all my years at Miami - had a fantastic reading room. And the basement? It was a bistro. This place is beautiful. I want to go back to school here for four more years. Things change.

Then, I picked up a copy of The Miami Student on the way out of the library. Staff cuts responsible for slow maintenance results, a headline announced. Jack Christianson reported that the Physical Facilities department has shrunk from a staff of 16 members to … how many? Four. I guess some things never change.

In 2003, 400 Miami employees went on strike for 13 days in order to gain better wages and lower costs for health insurance. Students supported the workers by sleeping in tents outside of President Garland's office. The union and the university agreed to a new three-year contract that included a 5 percent pay raise the following year and a limit to health insurance increases.

But the students who slept in those tents are now gone. In their place are new students who don't know this history. This is why I write today, to encourage the current Miami student population to speak out against these trends to cut staff to save money. Christianson reported that David Creamer, director of finance and business services for Miami, cited these reasons for the cuts: "to better implement efficiency and keep tuition more affordable."

So it seems that this is Miami's new plan of action. If we have to pay our employees more, let's just have fewer of them.

For Love & Honor? Are you kidding me, Miami? What is honorable about building all this finery on the backs of your overburdened employees?

Miami students, you and your parents pay a fine price for your education. But don't let the beautiful buildings block your ability to see what your money finances - as well as what it doesn't.

And Miami, I'd be happy to give you money for Love & Honor - once you start treating your employees honorably.

Sharon Tjaden-Glass

sharon.tjadenglass@gmail.com

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