There are the supporters. There are the detractors. Then there are several thousand, relatively uninformed and unconcerned, who don’t know what the fuss is all about. There are the disparities in wealth, both between the workers and the administrators who seemingly oppose their quest for a higher wage, and between the workers and the students who support their endeavor. There is the irony, of everyone who has money arguing over whether the people who don’t have money should have it.
But what should have been a UNICCO-administration situation that could have been resolved a while ago has quickly escalated into a controversy that affects anyone and everyone who sets foot on UM’s beautifully manicured campus. And it all revolves around that pesky little word: should.
What should be done? The answer isn’t as complex as choosing sides, isn’t as costly as budgeting living wages, isn’t as difficult as rationalizing support for NOT giving living wages. In fact, the answer of what should be done is really an offshoot of the answer to what should not be done.
Which brings us to, whether we like it or not, what is truly at issue here. The University of Miami has accepted thousands of students, hired thousands of faculty and staff, and done what any good university should do: They have brought these people together into a community learning environment. The professors, presumably, are here to teach, while the students, also with a grain of salt attached, are here to learn. But this learning environment is rendered useless when those involved choose to conduct classes off campus, or refuse to conduct them on campus (and fail to make a point by going so off campus that few people see them). But even beyond this utopian concept of academic society, there are the realistic problems, linked to the factors of society beyond our control: the insurance risk of having students off campus, the image risk of having professors oppose the administration, the general confusion caused by students voting on their whims.
The workers’ lives are being affected, and this should not be ignored, but so are the lives of those who comprise the university community. The Hurricane will not side with one side or another, but this much is clear: Both sides must find a solution that works for everyone’s sake.
We’re hoping this shouldn’t take too long.