To President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, Chief of Staff Joshua Merchant, Provost Britt Rios-Ellis, and the Board of Trustees:
I am writing to express my incredible disappointment in the actions of your institution with regards to the ongoing negotiations. I am appalled, I am disgusted, I am at a loss for words. I am angry.
I have had the extreme privilege of witnessing great educators at work throughout my entire life. It is an artform that I have always admired, and the reason that I chose to pursue the profession. Educators, of any grade-level or subject, have this amazing gift of putting their students’ needs above their own. While I assumed this would not be a trait that my college professors carried, I was pleasantly surprised by the faculty at Oakland University. Any professor I have encountered at your institution wants one thing: to see their students succeed; but this is no longer possible. Students can not succeed without the encouragement and support of their professors. Likewise, professors can not provide this support without basic human necessities: a fair and competitive wage, healthcare, and a university that is willing to fight for them.
I began attending Oakland University three years ago. My decision to attend OU was not one I took lightly; I had been accepted to many other universities that were willing to provide far greater scholarships in return for my attendence. Upon visiting Oakland University, my decision became very clear. OU cared about their students, they wanted to see them succeed.
Although I began my college career as a nursing student, I quickly realized that education was the path my heart was destined for. Time and time again, my professors reached out to me to ensure that this change in my major was a suitable one for me; they wanted to see me be successful. It is because of their care and guidance that I was. I began attending music education classes in September of 2020, the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In a time when so many things were uncertain, one thing I could rely on were my professors. While I was disappointed to not attend in person classes, my education was not lessened in quality. Once again, I saw professors go above and beyond to ensure my success in my classes and lessons.
Even now, as I write this letter, I am receiving emails from my professors. They want to update the students they hold so dear to their hearts. They want to be in their classrooms on September 2, 2021; they want to be teaching in person for the first time in a long time. This, of course, is not possible.
It is disheartening to see the educators I so admire be faced with the abhorrent actions of your institution. Perhaps you thought that we, the students, would not notice the blatant disrespect you have for the well-being of our teachers, and our education. We have noticed. We have noticed and we refuse to allow it to persist. Like so many others, I stand in solidarity with the professors at OU; I implore you to do the same.
Thank you for your consideration and understanding.