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ALTHOUGH THE FACULTY STRIKE now underway at Boston University is regrettable, the grievances are well-founded, and it is difficult to avoid concluding that the administration had it coming. The administration, headed by President John R. Silber, has been autocratic and repressive and last week the bottled-up frustration found an outlet in the strike.
If Harvard at times seems authoritarian and unresponsive, Boston University is incomparably worse. Student publications have been censored and closed down, faculty members have been grossly underpaid, and the administration has been markedly uncooperative and intransigent throughout the bargaining process. The latest incident--which finally prompted the faculty to strike--was the trustees' refusal to ratify a contract that their own negotiators had already agreed upon.
This is not to say the faculty is blameless. The faculty union should have shown more restraint during the negotiations. In particular, the union should have delayed the strike until it was absolutely certain that the trustees' objections to the contract were unresolvable. Still, it is understandable if the faculty at times overreacted--members had been trampled upon so frequently they felt it necessary to assert themselves.
A strike, of course, is a no-win situation. Each day Boston University remains closed costs the school huge amounts of money, and deprives the students of the education for which they have paid. The administration should ratify the negotiated contract, and avoid exacerbating the conflict needlessly. In particular, the support shown for the faculty by clerical and library workers should be respected by the administration. Further intransigence or retributive actions on the part of the administration will lead only to more trouble.
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