Division of Labor Studies faculty and supporters from Indiana University Northwest and other IU campuses have scheduled a meeting of statewide labor representatives for Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m. at the UAW Local 292 in Kokomo to discuss a counterproposal to a current administrative recommendation to reconfigure DLS.
The meeting, which was announced Sept. 13 by Labor Studies faculty chair Ruth Needleman, will be accompanied by a press conference at which DLS faculty and labor leaders will address what they believe are flaws with the current recommendation from Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis, where the division is housed.
Under this latest proposal, IU Northwest would retain its labor studies program, but would only be staffed with one tenured faculty member, two associate faculty members and one lecturer. The IU Fort Wayne program would be reduced to a single faculty member, according to Needleman. Regional Labor Studies programs would be eliminated entirely at the South Bend and Kokomo IU campuses. IUPUI would keep the other five of the seven remaining tenured DLS faculty members.
IUPUI officials have indicated that DLS is not financially sustainable as presently constituted, and have noted that most of the division’s revenue has come via online courses. Some regional campus programs are not, according to IUPUI, generating enough credit hours to pay for themselves. But proponents of Labor Studies have countered that the program is operating at a profit overall, and they insist DLS provides an invaluable educational resource to Indiana blue-collar workers.
Needleman said the Sept. 16 meeting is intended to give Indiana labor leaders and supporters a chance to participate in the development of the faculty’s counterproposal. She expressed confidence that the proposal would “reflect the needs of Labor and of students statewide, explaining that a program that produced $1.3 million last year in clear profit can afford to keep faculty positions and serve labor and the University statewide.”
The UAW Local 292 is located at 1201 West Alto Road in Kokomo. For more information, call DLS faculty chair Ruth Needleman at (219) 980-6835, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.