“Cracking the Nut,” Part 9

The subtitle to this analysis might be “Following in the Money Trail to Oblivion: The Continuing Saga of Misplaced Priorities.”

I would like to thank Rudy Fichtenbaum and Jim Vance for providing the analysis and several members of our Executive Committee for providing feedback on the early drafts of this piece.

Most of the information in this article comes from the Plante Moran Audit (“the Audit”) dated October 3, 2016 and WSARC’s 990 filed for (IRS Return for Tax Exempt Organizations) for FY 2015, the latest available. While the Board and the administration have been claiming that they support transparency, they refused to release the Audit for more than six months.  The Audit covers a myriad of topics. In this article, we will try to focus somewhat narrowly on the relationship between Wright State Applied Research Institute (WSARC), the Wright State Research Institute (WSRI), and an affiliated entity, ATIC. In subsequent articles, we will present additional analyses of the findings presented in the Audit.

Let us start with the relationship between WSRI and WSARC. WSARC is a 501(c)(3); that is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) designation for a charitable organization. WSARC is a non-profit organization that “provides contracting administration services for WSRI.” WSARC is used to obtain contracts, and then the work is performed by WSRI. According to the Audit, all labor for contracts and grants received by WSARC is provided by WSRI, and all WSRI’s employees are employees of WSU.

This is consistent with Schedule J Part III of the 990 filed for WSARC (IRS Return for Tax Exempt Organizations). This schedule shows that WSU paid compensation to four officers and 15 other key employees in FY 2015. Although the Secretary’s salary is not listed in the FY 2015 990, it was listed in the FY 2014 990, and using that number, this group of four board members (two working part-time) and 15 other key employees were paid $2.9 million, or an average of $153,525 per person, per year. WSARC’s annual costs for salary as shown as $6.9 million, but even this figure may not include benefits, payroll taxes, and other costs.

Our main story begins in the “Grant Report” section of the Audit. Here, Plante-Moran (P-M) reports that WSARC received an award for a workforce development contract with the state of Ohio. The funds for this contract came from a state appropriation of $4 million per year for four years, totaling $16 million. When P-M asked how the money was spent, WSARC could not provide any documentation, and no one in WSARC was aware of reporting requirements or stipulations as to how the money could be used.

The Audit lists ATIC (Advanced Technical Intelligence Center) as one of WSRI’s affiliated entities. ATIC received a significant amount of its funding from WSARC, much of it from the workforce development grant. P-M notes that WSARC has “limited control and/or oversight” of its payments, leaving it vulnerable to conflicts of interest, double billing, and payments at higher than market rates, especially for overhead. The last of these potential risks is particularly ironic since P-M criticized WSARC for not charging properly for overhead while at the same time paying other “affiliated entities” of the university outrageous rates for overhead.

Now ATIC had been a vendor for WSARC starting in 2012. The audit identified “four invoices [issued by ATIC to WSARC that] contained limited supporting information as well as characteristics that are typical of fictitious invoices.” Three of these were paid by early 2013 and, to summarize the Audit’s implications, seem to represent payments by WSARC for work that had not been completed (or even begun), to “help out” ATIC since ATIC was already struggling financially.

Then, in 2014, ATIC and WSARC signed a management agreement wherein all employees of ATIC became employees of WSU. Among them was Hugh Bolton, the President and CEO of ATIC, whose 2014 WSU base salary was $228,000. WSARC was left to collect money owed to WSARC from ATIC by invoicing them for labor costs including benefits, but under the management agreement was not allowed to collect overhead or G & A. WSARC’s CFO calculates that $410,000 is unrecoverable. Moreover, ATIC was past due on over $585,000 in labor costs and additionally was to be billed for $82,000 more. ($337,000 of these outstanding charges due by ATIC were already 90 days old.) What this all means is that WSU effectively started running a failing company by hiring all ATIC’s employees, when this same company owed WSU at least $1.1 million that will likely never be collected.

The Audit reports that President Hopkins justified this management agreement because he thought that ATIC was important to the community. The Audit further reports that while President Hopkins admitted it “may not have been the best financial decision, management deemed it a good strategic decision.”

But wait! It gets even worse! P-M then looked at ATIC’s 990’s and found that in 2011 Hugh Bolton, before he became a WSU employee, was paid a base salary of $249,314, incentive compensation of $72,644, and deferred compensation of $107,998, for a grand total of $429,956. In 2012, with salaries and bonuses he was paid $480,233, and finally in 2013 he received base pay, without any bonuses, of $205,416.  So, after this year with no bonuses and running a company that could not pay its bills, it must have been a relief to be put on the WSU payroll.

Finally, before the management agreement, ATIC also paid Sebaly, Shillito, & Dyer (S, S, & D) over $134,000. This is a law firm where Beverly Shillito, the Secretary of ATIC, is a partner.

While these ATIC payments to Bolton and S, S, & D were made before WSARC signed the management agreement with ATIC, and according to the Audit may have contributed to ATIC’s financial struggles, the question remains:  why was signing this agreement with a company that was struggling to stay afloat a “good strategic decision”?

Maybe the President thought this was a good strategic decision because he was being praised by the Board of Trustees while the Board approved budgets supporting an administrative spending spree, hiring administrators as if they were an endangered species, and paying them exorbitant salaries including, in many cases, outrageous stipends (not to mention reimbursements for “car phones” of as much as $8,000 annually). Why was it not clear already to the Board that these reckless expenditures did not support the University’s academic mission and were putting us on a course to insolvency, while it paid the President bonuses and deferred compensation making him more highly paid than his counterparts at UC-Berkeley and the UNC-Chapel Hill.

In late March, the Board hired an interim President at an annual salary rate of $1.2 million to “set things right.” Since then a remarkable stream of revelations has occurred. Notably, on April 7 alone, as the interim President announced a prohibition on hiring consultants, the AAUP-WSU negotiating team first met a consultant (an attorney from a huge pro-management law firm) hired to be the new chief negotiator for the administration, and this consultant announced that the administration would not be ready to continue negotiations until May 26. (Never mind the ground rules ground rules for negotiations, agreed upon in writing by both AAUP-WSU and the administration, state that the parties would exchange economic proposals on April 7.) A few days later, we learned that the university has hired another consultant, specifically a PR firm. AAUP-WSU has requested information regarding expenditures for this PR firm, for the attorney/consultant/chief negotiator, the interim president, and the president designee. We are still waiting for replies.

So, where do we stand?

First, it is now more obvious than ever before that Bargaining Unit Faculty are not responsible for the out-of-control spending spree that has led our university to the current financial and leadership crisis. In fact, this spending has illustrated what we have observed for many, many years:  the administration and Board have continued to hold fast to misplaced priorities, rather than focusing its attention and money on our university’s academic mission. So, it would be ridiculous and border on obscene to ask BUFMs and our students to “take one for the team”–to accept FEWER BUFMS to do the work or cuts in real compensation, considering inflation and the cost of health benefits. Remember that faculty’s working conditions are student learning conditions.

Second, the only viable means to avoid our “taking one for the team” is to negotiate a fair contract. Although we have a talented negotiating team, the real battle will be won or lost away from the table. The way to win and get a contract that is fair to faculty and our students is for BUFMs to overtly and publicly stand together during the negotiations. You can expect AAUP-WSU to call upon you to undertake various actions in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, REMBEMBER THE STUFF WE HAVE ALREADY ASKED YOU TO DO.

_________________________

On April 15, the Dayton Daily News published an article by Max Filby titled “Audit: Underbilling, Cost Overruns Led to WSU’s Budget Woes.” The article includes the subtitle “Wright State Officials Say They Have Taken Steps to Fix the Problems.”

The article includes these comments on ATIC:

ATIC

 One area agency that embodies several of the auditors’ concerns is the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center, a Fairborn-based nonprofit that partners with WSU for research and technical training. Its website says in 2016 it became a division of the Wright State Applied Research Corporation.

WSARC’s Andersh said ATIC is valuable to the university because it is accredited to handle the highest-level of top secret government information.

“It gives the university and the community access to a facility that is pretty unique in the country,” Andersh said.

But ATIC has struggled financially and in 2014 all of its employees were put on WSU’s payroll under a management agreement that had Wright State billing WSARC for the labor.

The auditors found that Wright State underbilled by at least $410,000 — money the university won’t be able to recover, according to the audit.

In addition, at the time of the audit WSARC still owed the university another $1.4 million because of payments that weren’t made, the auditors said. Andersh on Friday said about $500,000 of that total has been repaid.

ATIC’s financial struggles were known to Wright State officials, according to the audit, but the school wanted to preserve its ties to what it considered to be a community asset. “Therefore, they agreed to hire ATIC’s employees under the management agreement,” the audit says.

 

“Cracking the Nut,” Part 8: WSRI Continued

In response to the previous post in this series, I received a thoughtful message from a BUFM who pointed out that the “real issue” is not the number of high-salaried employees at WSRI but, instead, the failure to set up and manage WSRI and WSARC so that they might be profitable. The BUFM emphasized that most research institutes have a higher percentage of high-salaried employees than most university colleges or departments. Indeed, the BUFM suggested that the post might actually serve to create dissension among those in our bargaining unit because it highlights the wide variations in compensation among faculty in the colleges within our university.

I have no argument with anything that this correspondent has written. But the purpose of the posts in this series is not to highlight why each of the various enterprises and initiatives in which the university has “invested” large sums have been losing money rather than generating revenue. Coming up with those answers is the administration’s responsibility.

Instead, precisely because the administration has been very ambiguous even on how much it has had to subsidize these money-losing ventures, the purpose of this series is to suggest the scope of the revenues diverted from the core mission of the university and the degree to which this diversion represents very skewed institutional priorities. Yes, someone might take issue with the variations in compensation among faculty in the colleges within our university, but those variations are longstanding and exist in most universities across the United States. In striking contrast, that our university has experienced three successive years of negative cash flow is, as far as we have been able to determine, an unprecedented occurrence at a public university.

So, in this post, let’s go a step beyond the comparisons presented in the previous post and look at the highest salaries in WSRI and compare them to the highest BUFM salaries in each of the colleges with BUFMs.

The two highest paid employees of WSRI/WSARC are the chief scientist and the CEO, who earn, respectively, $374,158 and $219,501.

The highest paid BUFM in the university is the former provost, but at the moment, his salary is an outlier because it is the only BUFM salary that falls between the two highest salaries at WSRI/WSARC and because it is one of just several high salaries for BUFMs that has been calculated back from an administrative salary.

Because BUFMs on fiscal-year contracts have typically assumed administrative salaries, we have calculated all salaries to their academic-year equivalent. With that proviso in mind, and bearing in mind that the BUFM data is from April 2016, before the VRIP made it more difficult for us to track data, the highest BUFM salaries in each of the colleges were as follows:

CECS–$201,502.78

CEHS–$95,178.32

CoLA–$116,764.47

CoNH–$118,287.91

CoSM–$173,211.44

Lake–$100,680.78

RSCoB–$192,773.03

Indeed, in terms of suggesting skewed institutional priorities, if one looks at the mean and median salaries of WSRI/WSARC employees earning more than $100,000–$144,009.31 and $122,281.12, respectively—they are higher than the highest BUFM salary in four of the seven colleges with BUFMs.

Again, we acknowledge that this is, in many ways, an exercise in comparing apples to oranges, but it does very tellingly suggest very skewed institutional priorities.

 

“Cracking the Nut,” Part 7: WSRI

This article in our continuing series on the budget issues at Wright State is the first of three concerning the payroll of the Wright State Research Institute (WSRI).

These articles were ready to be distributed late in the Fall semester, but because the vote of no-confidence in Dr. Robert Fyffe was in process, we postponed the distribution of these articles and a follow-up article on the Wright State Applied Research Corporation (WSARC). None of the articles has much to do with Dr. Fyffe’s performance, but because both units are now under Dr. Fyffe’s oversight and because both articles are likely to provoke a strong negative response from BUFMs, we did not wish to appear to be putting our thumb on the scale in the no-confidence vote.

Unlike WSARC, WSRI does not need to file distinct audited annual financial reports. So the only firm information that we have on the university’s expenditures on WSRI are related to payroll.

Over the last five years, 46 employees of WSRI have received salaries of $100,000 or higher. As of October 2016, 27 employees of WSRI were receiving salaries of $100,000 or higher.

Although it is in a sense comparing apples to oranges to juxtapose those numbers with BUFMs in the colleges receiving equivalent salaries, the exercise does, nonetheless, suggest a great deal about this university’s priorities.

The following list indicates the number of BUFMs earning $100,000 or higher:

  • CECS: 45 out of 88 BUFMs, or about 51% of all BUFMs.
  • CEHS: 1 out of 57 BUFMs, or less than 2% of all BUFMs (and that person, who is on a fiscal appointment, would be below $100,000, if her fiscal year salary were converted to the academic equivalent, in which case the percentage would go down to zero).
  • CoLA: 6 out of 211 BUFMs, or less than 3% of all BUFMs (and there would be only 4, if all fiscal year salaries were converted to academic equivalents, in which case the percentage would go down to a bit less than 2%).
  • CoNH: 3 out of 41 BUFMs, or about 7% of all BUFMs.
  • CoSM: 38 out of 158 BUFMs, or about 24% of all BUFMs (and there would be only 29, if all fiscal year salaries were converted to academic equivalents, in which case the percentage would go down to about 18%).
  • Lake: 1 out of 37 BUFMs, or less than 3% of all BUFMs.
  • RSCoB: 45 out of 61 BUFMs, or about 74% of all BUFMs.

More tellingly, WSRI has more employees earning salaries of $100,000 or higher than four of the seven colleges have BUFMs earning equivalent salaries, and in such a comparison, WSRI is just marginally behind CoSM.

As of April 2016, the average salary of TET BUFMs was $94,093.65, and the average salary of NTE BUFMs was $53,996.50. The average salary for instructors, or at-will NTE faculty, was $47,433.02.

So, not expectedly, the salary average for TET BUFMs is very clearly skewed by the numbers from several colleges.

Again, the next two articles in this series will also be related to WSRI.

 

 

An Hour of Television on Higher Ed Issues from a Faculty Perspective

 

This past Thursday, DA-TV in Dayton devoted an hour to a panel discussion about the issues at our university but very much tying those issues to broader statewide and national issues.

Although I was invited to participate on the panel, I was attending a professional conference. After viewing the video, I think that you will agree that my absence may have been something of a blessing because I cannot imagine that I could have spoken as articulately and as effectively as those AAUP leaders and members who did participate.

The panel included: John McNay, President of the Ohio Conference of AAUP; Tom Rooney, Treasurer of the AAUP-WSU; Adrian Corbett, Chief Negotiator of AAUP-WSU; Sirisha Naidu, Grievance Officer of AAUP-WSU; and Andrea Harris, a Lecturer in English and Women’s Studies who helped to organize the recent student protest on the Quad.

If you are pressed for time, the first 7 ½ minutes are a sort of general news overview (the material is very interesting but not related to higher-ed per se).

Citizen Impact is hosted by Logan Martinez and produced by Tim Bruce. It is a project of the Miami Valley Full Employment Council (MVFEC), which works for the interests of low-income and unemployed people in the Dayton, Ohio, area.

 

 

 

“Cracking the Nut,” Part 5

As closely as we can calculate from the audited financial statements, the Wright State Applied Research Corporation (WSARC) cost the university almost $8 million between 2012 and 2015:

2012:              $1,011,357

2013:              $2,173,314                $3,184,671

2014:              $2,724,251                $5,908,922

                        $1,607,132                $7,516,054

2015:              $963,240                   $8,479,294

Notes on how we arrived at these totals are provided at the bottom of this communication.

 

Last spring, we received from another source the following chart, providing a somewhat different calculation of the cost of WSARC to Wright State.

wsarc-chart 

 At this point, it does not matter all that much what the precise losses have been. It matters only that as the university was reporting three consecutive years of negative cash flow, it continued to “invest” millions of dollars into this entity, which was providing little to no indication that it would ever actually produce revenues that would allow it to contribute to, rather than to continue to be a drain on, the university’s increasingly over-extended resources.

 I am certain that someone in the administration will complain that our accounting or that of the other source that we have shared is not accurate. Well, to this point, the university has not provided AAUP-WSU with any financial records related to WSARC or WSRI that are both complete and transparent. (There will be more on the lack of transparency in another communication distributed over the next couple of weeks.) So, if the administration wanted us to be more accurate in our analysis, then it should have provided us with full and clearly presented data, instead of leaving us to improvise.

  

Notes:

 2012

On September 2, 2011, the Wright State Applied Research Corporation (WSARC) signed an agreement to purchase fee simple interest in an office building located at 4035 Colonel Glenn Highway, Beavercreek, Ohio 45435, for a purchase price of $1,800,000. The building consists of approximately 34,000 rentable square feet of space and is located on approximately 4.4 acres of land. WSARC completed this purchase agreement and closed on the property on July 13, 2012.

But the audited financial statement shows property and equipment at a value of $941,986.

There is a “Due to Wright State” liability of $1,114,822. Per an agreement reached with the University during the year ending June 30, 2012, the amount outstanding of $1,011,357 was forgiven by the University. This is reflected as a contribution to equity by a related party on the Statement of Activities. So, in effect, the University loaned WSARC $1,114,822 and then forgave $1,011,357 of the loan. Without this contribution to equity, WSARC would have had net assets of $103,525, or have been close to being insolvent.

Total revenue for the year equaled $1,837,023.

Total expenses for the year equaled $2,463,841.

The total loss for the year was $626,818.

An impairment of software and equipment of $5,851,769 was reported.

2013

As noted above, without WSU’s contribution to equity WSARC would have had become insolvent the following year when it had a loss of $1,993,982.

Total revenue for this year equaled $7,030,581.

Total expenses for this year equaled $9,024,563.

The total loss for this year equaled $1,993,982.

There was more impairment of software and equipment reported but only for $114,259.

Net Cash Used for Operations:

The University made another contribution to equity of 2,186,173. During the year ending June 30, 2013, the state of Ohio awarded the University a grant, a part of which was to be operated by WSARC. The University purchased $2,186,173 of capital assets for WSARC to use to fulfill the requirements of the grant. This is reflected as a contribution to equity by a related party on the Statement of Activities.

In 2012 WSARC reported that it had purchased a building. Actually it was WSU that had purchased the building, as is noted in the 2013 financial statements note 4. Part of the $5,206,447 due to Wright State was $1,800,000 used to purchase the building. As we will see later WSU forgave this debt.

Separately WSARC reported owning land worth $735,480 and building and improvements worth $1,437,936, for a total of $2,173,416. This means that WSARC spent $373,416 making improvement on the building that WSU purchased for it.

2014

A “Due to Wright State” amount of $1,972,252 was reported.

In 2014 there was also for the first time an asset for WSARC “Due from Wright State University” amounting to $1,607,132 (which includes $172,760 for rent). This amounts to a new mechanism for charging WSU more –that is, more WSU money was flowing to WSARC. Effectively this wipes out most of the $2 million due to WSU.

Total revenue for the year was $11,627,052.

Total expenses for the year were $12,554,955.

The total loss for the year was $927,903.

Net Cash Used for Operations was -$816,171.

Purchases of property and equipment amounted to $551,327.

In 2014 WSARC lists land at $751,085. This is an increase over the $735,480 they reported in 2013. This number should not increase unless they purchased additional land—that is, it is not due to appreciation in the value of land. All plant and property is reported at historical costs—the purchase price. Buildings and improvements were reported at $1,973,167 compared to $1,437,936 in 2013.

The Corporation issued a note receivable to a research foundation on June 30, 2014 for $300,000. The note bears interest at the five-year treasury rate plus 250 basis points, with the interest rate reset on January 1 of each year. Quarterly payments of accrued interest are to be made beginning July 1, 2014, with the principal due at maturity on December 31, 2024. The note is collateralized by all assets of the borrower. The note receivable is included in other asset in the statement of financial position.

During the year ended June 30, 2014, WSARC began recognizing revenue for space leased to the University in WSARC’s building. This is a new development. First WSU bought the building for WSARC and then was paying $172,760 in rent. (The going rate at Wright Executive Center office park is $17.95 per square foot. So one wonders how many square feet the university is renting and whether it is giving itself a “good deal.”)

During fiscal year 2014, a donor made a bequest to the University of an office building in the donor’s name. The donor has a mortgage on the building of approximately $2,700,000. During fiscal year 2014, WSARC entered into an agreement with the lender guaranteeing the debt service payments of the mortgage. As of June 30, 2014, no amounts were recognized as a liability under the financial guaranty in WSARC’s statement of financial position.

The University purchased $924,251 of capital assets for WSARC during the year ended June 30, 2014.

In addition to the capital assets purchased during the year ended June 30, 2014, the University also forgave $1,800,000 of amount due from WSARC for the purchase of the building. This is reflected as a contribution to equity by a related party on the Statement of Activities for the year ended June 30, 2014.

Thus the University made another contribution to equity of $2,724,251.

2015

The total amount due to Wright State University was $7,126,607.

The total amount due from Wright State University was $1,718,742 (including $813,000 for rent).

The total revenue for the year was $15,243,528.

The total expenses for the year were $15,968,382.

The total loss for the year was $724,854.

The net cash used for operations was -$414,948.

The purchases of property and equipment totaled $344,445.

WSU increased the amount it paid in rent in 2015. It had a “Due to for Rent” in 2015 of $813,000 compared to $172,760 in 2014. The increase in the “Due to” reflects the additional rent paid by WSU to WSARC, which was $640,240.

 

What Standing Together Can Accomplish

Many of you may be aware that the administration of Long Island University—Brooklyn announced on Labor Day weekend that it was abruptly locking out all bargaining-unit faculty because of an extended impasse in their contract negotiations.

This lockout was unprecedented in the history of American higher education, and it not only attracted national attention but also provoked considerable outrage. Last week, after starting the semester with administrators and newly hired adjunct faculty hastily assigned to as many classes as possible, the university administration finally relented.

What follows is a debriefing by one of the faculty actively involved in resisting the lockout. For those of you who have not been following the story very closely, there is then a series of links to other posts to the Academe Blog.

_________________________

Back to Class with Lots of New Lessons: Debrief on the LIU Lockout

By DEBORAH MUTNICK

Saturday, September 17, three days after the LIU administration ended its lockout of faculty in the midst of contract negotiations, I feel a little like Wile E. Coyote running off the edge of a cliff. I can’t stop running.

As I hover over that abyss, before resuming the more or less normal functions of life as a professor, I need to think through what the lockout taught us. And given its significance as an unprecedented case of what could happen elsewhere, those of you following the news about it are also probably wondering what happened.

As reported in the press, our old contract was extended until May 31, 2017, our demand for a mediator was met, any health insurance expenses are to be reimbursed, and negotiations are to resume immediately. At our union meeting on September 15, the day we returned to campus, we heard more details.

We learned about two conditions proposed by President Kimberly Cline and swiftly rejected by our incredulous LIUFF team: the first was that we issue a joint statement announcing the end of the lockout; the second, even more preposterous, was that we sign a “non-disparagement” clause. As a member of our team put it, first she locked us out, now she’s threatening our First Amendment rights.

We also got a copy of a letter to Cline from the NYS Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education warning her that media reports and complaints alleging the use of unqualified replacement workers could lead to an on-site review of the University’s compliance with state regulations and to deregistration of programs.

The crisis of the lockout thrust LIU into the national spotlight. Together with amazing support from labor—especially the AFT and its crew of experienced staff—elected officials, colleagues, friends, and alums, LIU Brooklyn faculty and students stood up for higher education and won a major victory.

Had we gone on strike—an action decided against well before the lockout—it would have been newsworthy but not extraordinary. Once the lockout was implemented, students and faculty were cast into history-making roles defending our campus against the president’s neoliberal, union-busting tactics and her assumption that it was okay to replace 450+ professors with reassigned administrators and scabs hired on Monster.com.

The lockout transformed the LIU Brooklyn faculty from a diverse group of intellectuals across the political spectrum into a more or less unified, disciplined local willing to fight collectively not only for ourselves but also for the other four unions on our campus without contracts, the students, the right to unionize, and the future of our university. Next we need to figure out how to maintain unity, focus, and resolve now that the crisis has ended.

Students were likewise transformed by the lockout and the fraudulent replacement of their professors. They rose up in unified protest that forced the administration to buckle. Simultaneously, they began to understand discrete instances of their own mistreatment (e.g., cuts to scholarships and stipends) in qualitatively different terms as linked to larger structural assaults on education and democracy. They learned they have power when they act collectively.

We emerged victorious in this round of attack but that is clearly insufficient. We have immediate work to do at LIU—negotiating a fair contract and mounting a campaign for new university leadership. The future of LIU, however, is inextricably linked to the long-term, systemic problem of the evisceration and corporatization of education.

None of us anywhere will be able to fight these battles alone. The LIU lockout is already fading from headlines but the ubiquitous struggle continues. Many of us have researched and lamented neoliberal trends in education, from privatization and austerity to high stakes testing and how international conglomerates are writing curricula and controlling classroom pedagogy.

We know that Bill Gates and other big private donors have discovered what he has publicly called “a uniform base of customers.” The question remains how to build a national, activist movement—one that goes beyond think tanks and the publication of research—of students and teachers across disciplines, institutions, grade levels, and localities that can fight for education as a human right essential to democracy.

To end on a lighter note, during the lockout I was assessed a late fee for an unpaid credit card. I wrote a message to the bank explaining I had been one of over 450 LIU faculty locked out of the university. I suggested the clerk reading my query might have heard about it on the news, indeed, might have heard me on the news. The message I got back telling me the fee had been waived also stated: “We are aware of the unfortunate circumstances and hope things get better.”

_________________________

Links to other posts to the Academe Blog on the LIU—Brooklyn lockout, arranged chronologically from the earliest to most recent:

“LIU  Lockout Scheduled for Midnight”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/02/24861/.

“Locked Out on Labor Day: Faculty at LIU Brooklyn Fighting for a Fair Contract and the Future of Our Campus”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/03/locked-out-on-labor-day-faculty-at-liu-brooklyn-fighting-for-a-fair-contract-and-the-future-of-our-campus/.

“Why Does the New York Times Ignore the LIU Lockout?”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/04/why-does-the-new-york-times-ignore-the-liu-lockout/.

“Lockout Lessons”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/04/lockout-lessons/.

“Front Lines of the Academic Precariat: LIU Brooklyn Faculty Still Locked Out”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/05/front-lines-of-the-academic-precariat-liu-brooklyn-faculty-still-locked-out/.

“Administrator Oversteps and the Threat to the Faculty: LIU, Northwestern and More”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/06/administrator-oversteps-and-the-threat-to-the-faculty-liu-northwestern-and-more/.

“LIU Lockout [Statement from national AAUP]”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/06/liu-lockout/.

“Who Is the College?: Straight from the LIU Lockout”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/07/who-is-the-college-straight-from-the-liu-lockout/.

“Lockout of Faculty at LIU: Looking Down into the Abyss”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/08/lockout-of-faculty-at-liu-looking-down-into-the-abyss/.

“Scenes from the LIU Student Walkout”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/08/scenes-from-the-liu-student-walkout/.

“One Week and Counting: More Lessons from the #LIUlockout”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/09/one-week-and-counting-more-lessons-from-the-liulockout/.

“How to Destroy College: The Long Island University Method”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/09/how-to-destroy-college-the-long-island-university-method/.

“The Logic of the LIU Lockout: Does the Goldwater Rule Apply to University Presidents?”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/13/the-logic-of-the-liu-lockout-does-the-goldwater-rule-apply-to-university-presidents/.

“LIU Lockout Is Over”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/14/l-i-u-lockout-is-over/.

“LIU Lockout Is Over”: http://academeblog.org/2016/09/14/liu-lockout-over/.