Green River faculty striking at the Kent campus

I am on strike for my students

Let me start by saying that I have far less at stake than the many other tenured and adjunct faculty at Green River College who are demanding our college president be removed. I am completing a PhD at the University of Washington and teaching a single course for one term at Green River.

What’s at stake for me? The student’s best interests and the basic principles of effective governance that I believe to be right are what I am fighting for.

Our mission at GRC is to serve the needs of the students in our community. When the administration chose to rank programs based on their ability to attract international student fees they lost sight of the fact that we are a community college.

The needs of our local students should come first.

Students do not come here from Beijing to learn to work in an auto body shop or study early childhood development, or learn to speak French. But there are many skills our local students need the opportunity to explore, and their availability should not be driven by profit.

The administration has a non-transparent, top down management style that is inappropriate in an academic institution. Any allocation of funds that does not first provide for student education is a misuse of resources. Any budget deficit that does not first target non-instructional spending (administrator salaries and building projects) or utilize the student fees generated by our international student community is a departure from our mission.

College is a results-oriented business. I work for the students. If my students feel that I am unfair, unclear in my communications or behave in a way that does not enhance their education, then to a certain extent it is true. The student perception of my teaching is a valid reflection of the quality of the service that I provide.

Likewise, the purpose of administration is to facilitate faculty serving the needs of students. This president has created an overwhelming consensus that she has not been true to this mission. The lack of trust and the poisonous atmosphere are reflected in three votes of no confidence in President Ely. The perceptions of the faculty are a valid measure of her service. This strike allows us to make our case to the people of Auburn and Governor Inslee.

We care about the current and future students of Green River College and I implore each person reading this message to help us convince the governor to appoint new leadership at GRC and allow the faculty to get back to work building leaders for the state and nation.

#WhereIsTheGovernor?

Dax Soule is teaching a course in geography at Green River College and completing his PhD at the University of Washington. Read more about the strike here and here.