In a study for the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, Seymour Martin Lipset and Everett Ladd concluded that faculty of "low scholarly achievement give greater backing to the principles of collective bargaining." But higher education looks a lot different than it did in the 1970s. For one thing, it is much larger and less exclusive today. The growth of community colleges and four-year colleges that include a great deal of remedial and vocational training has diluted the traditional academic snobbery.That expansion of remediation and thirteenth grade is by design. But I digress.
Ms Riley focuses on the downward-leveling impulse implicit in unionization.
Stony Brook's $6,000 tuition is about $5,000 lower than that of flagship universities in nearby states, and many faculty there think it's time they charge students what a Stony Brook education is worth, not what a Fredonia State education is worth. But the union still opposed the legislation. It doesn't want to see distinctions made among better and worse campuses and, thereby, among the better and worse faculties. Those distinctions would undermine union solidarity.Yes, provided the Buffalo administration protects its faculty to do what the better universities do. The sub-priming of state flagships and comprehensives, whether under the rubric of "efficiency" or under the rubric of "access" wrecks faculty morale, and, for lack of any better alternatives, makes the union look good.
Indeed, students, parents and taxpayers should think twice about how unionization affects the quality of higher education in America. As John Simpson, president of the University of Buffalo, told me, "Unionization runs contrary to what you're socialized to do if you're a researcher. The notion of belonging to a herd seems on the face of it inappropriate."