Letter to the editor: in solidarity with our faculty

Oakland+University+Student+Dalia+Ali-Khan.

Photo courtesy of Dalia Ali-Khan

Oakland University Student Dalia Ali-Khan.

Dalia Ali-Khan, Contributor

August 31, 2021 

This letter is addressed to President Pescovitz, Provost Rios-Ellis, Chief of Staff Josh Merchant and the Board of Trustees 

As a future Social Worker, the current BSW Student Representative for the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and a Senior in the Bachelor of the Social Work program, I am not comfortable staying silent. 

It was heartbreaking to learn that the professors who have tremendously contributed to my life, both personally and academically, are being treated unfairly by the institution that they work so hard for. 

I transferred to Oakland University from Macomb Community College (MCC) during lockdown. It was a very difficult transition as I was leaving my support system at MCC, navigating online classes and starting at an unfamiliar university. However, when I emailed my professors introducing myself and voicing my concerns about learning from home in an unreliable environment, I was met with kindness and reassurance that they would do everything they could to help me. They connected me with resources, brainstormed ideas and checked in with me to see how I was doing. In a time where I was feeling very isolated, they made sure that I was seen and heard. 

Many conceptions of morality ask us to treat others as we would wish to be treated. When I consider that the very professors you disregard are the ones who carried (and are currently carrying) this institution throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic by transforming their homes into classrooms and offices. Not forgetting the faculty whose level of pay requires multiple jobs in order to make ends meet and/or those who have families to take care of- all while delivering quality university-level education. 

We are not yet past the harrowing effects that the pandemic has brought. To take away from faculty by cutting pay and benefits in a time of crisis is disgusting and brings the question to mind of, is this how you wish to be treated? 

Apply what you are trying to do to the professors of Oakland University to yourself. Would you be able to survive? Pay your bills? Put dinner on the table? Have access to health, dental and vision care? Think about the lives that your actions are affecting. If cuts are necessary, cut your own salaries and benefits. Do not take away from the dedicated faculty who are working on the frontlines keeping this institution afloat. 

Oakland University is nothing without the professors who educate us. I use my voice to stand with the professors who have stood by me. It is my turn to give them the support they need. 

Sincerely, 

Dalia Ali-Khan

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