Letter to the editor: Admins — take note of what’s happening on campus

To President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, Chief of Staff Joshua Merchant, Provost Britt Rios-Ellis, and the Board of Trustees:

Hello! To introduce myself, my name is Brian Wiik, and I am currently a sophomore studying tuba performance and music education.

Being a sophomore in the music department is no easy feat, and it’s no help that my year is now delayed because of a school dragging its feet to support those who are at the front of their classrooms. These aren’t just moodle pages or syllabi you are trying to cut the benefits of, these are parents or even grandparents that are trying to make a living doing what they love. These aren’t people looking to make a quick buck, they are in your halls day in and day out committing themselves to bettering their students and the institution they are paying to attend.

As I prepared for class this week, one of the last things I thought I would be packing for was a picket line. I normally would be driving to school with a tuba in my trunk, not a sign and cases of water. I would be going home with homework in my backpack, not flyers defending the faculty and why they’re out there today.

I know I am lucky to be in the music program at Oakland. The professors are not only some of the best in the industry, but some of the most compassionate and caring people that I’m fortunate enough to know, let alone get to learn from. These professors commit themselves to not only teaching us for our classes but for life as well, learning about much more than just music. Seeing not only their determination but their perseverance during the pandemic really allowed for me and my peers to push through the difficult times to make it to this school year.  Not only did I see the rapid adaptation of my high school education to virtual, but I came into a college where the professors were not only virtual but thriving in it. But it seems as though the university is attempting to erase their efforts and throw away the progress they made.

That is only thanks to their own efforts. As I came into this year preparing to start my courses on music education, I was not prepared to get thrown into a lesson like this on day one. Many times I have seen teachers around this state forced to protest against their unfair treatment, but I did not think I would get to take part in this 4000 level course on how educators are treated in this state and around the country.

I hope those at the table take note of what’s happening outside the room. Not only faculty, but students are lining up around campus to stand up for what’s right. I have faith that you all will realize the gravity of not only your decision, but the merit behind it. Attempting to play the long game won’t just hurt the faculty, but the students, staff, and what this institution seeks to stand for, for years to come.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Wiik