Thursday, May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020: Spring 2020 Tributes: Aruna Krishnamurthy and Unions
[This would be the last week of classes, if the Spring 2020 semester had gone as scheduled. To say that it didn’t is just to scratch the surface of this chaotic, crazy, challenging spring, though. So for my usual semester recaps, this time I’ll focus mostly on brief to those folks who helped us make it through this incredibly tough time, leading up to a weekend post of my own reflections on teaching in this new world.]
On the union chapter president who exemplifies the need for this form of organization and collective action.
Last spring, I wrote a piece for my bimonthly Saturday Evening Post Considering History column on the funding crisis facing public higher education. In the piece’s last paragraph, I highlight two proposed pieces of legislation, the Promise and Cherish Acts, through which (if they are passed, which I am hopeful will be the case) Massachusetts could begin to redress those funding gaps and failures for both higher and secondary/primary education. Those bills, and the campaign to garner support for them, have both been led by two unions: the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and the Massachusetts State College Association (MSCA). At FSU, the MSCA Chapter President is my English Studies colleagues and friend Aruna Krishnamurthy.
Aruna’s been a wonderful chapter president from the jump, but this spring she took her and the chapter’s work to a whole new level. While the first weeks of the unfolding COVID-19 crisis (in early March) are largely and will always remain a chaotic blur in my memory, one thing that stands out like the beacon it was is that it was Aruna we FSU faculty heard from most consistently and helpfully—indeed, I want to say that we got as many pieces of advice, clarification, guidance, and support from Aruna as far all other FSU folks combined in those early weeks. As I wrote in this September post, the MSCA embodies the best of academic, public, and labor unions, and I’ve never felt that more strongly—nor recognized the crucial role performed by leaders like Aruna more fully—than I did over the course of this Spring semester.
Last tribute tomorrow,
PS. Reflections or tributes of your own on Spring 2020?