Rare choice: Could UW’s next president come from within?

“There’s a deep level of anti-union animus at the UW, and if we’re going to fix that, it’s going to require real leadership,” said Garrett Shishido Strain, a UW student activist. “I don’t think she’ll seriously challenge the corporatization of the university unless pushed.”

By Katherine Long

“Recently, she disappointed some professors by sending an open letter expressing grave reservations about a move under way to unionize the faculty.

Some saw her response as typical of a university governed by a board of regents whose members largely represent the corporate world.

“There’s a deep level of anti-union animus at the UW, and if we’re going to fix that, it’s going to require real leadership,” said Garrett Shishido Strain, a UW student activist. “I don’t think she’ll seriously challenge the corporatization of the university unless pushed.”

Shishido Strain gives Cauce credit for being willing to talk with student activists, “but we’re still waiting for proof and action,” he said. For example, he is disappointed that the UW hasn’t committed to bumping student pay to $15 an hour on the timeline that the city’s new wage law requires. (As a state agency, the UW says it falls into a gray area of the law.)

And she hasn’t addressed complaints from the UW’s custodial staff about overwork and unfair disciplinary actions, said Paula Lukaszek, a UW plumber and president of Washington Federation of State Employees Local 1488.

But Lukaszek gives Cauce credit for meeting with blue-collar workers — something that her predecessors, Young and Mark Emmert, did not do.”

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