Depression, Recovery and Higher Education: A Report by Committee Y of the American Association of University Professors. The Draft of This Report Was Prepared by Malcolm M. Willey

By Malcolm M. Willey; American Association of University Professors | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
HOW COLLEGE FACULTIES REACTED TO THE DEPRESSION

THE discussion thus far has been impersonal, and based on the adding machine. It is apparent, however, that behind all of the changes that have been outlined there are hundreds of thousands of men and women to whom the data have more than tabular interest. There are four major groups of employees who are concerned with the economic situation on the campuses of the country. First are the service employees: janitors, window washers, scrubwomen, painters, boilermen, electricians, gardeners, truck drivers, maids, cooks, storekeepers, telephone operators and many others, the number depending primarily upon the size of the institution. To the public these men and women are not the college or the university, but without them it could scarcely function. It would be appropriate to study the depression and recovery in terms of their lives. What consideration was given to them when and as depression reached the campus? Were their salaries cut first or last? Were they dismissed so that the salaries of professors might be left untouched or reduced but slightly? Were they included in any campus program to share and share alike? These questions are raised, but their answer is a special study that cannot be entered upon by this committee.1

The second group of employees includes the clerical staff. In it are the typists, stenographers, filing clerks, and those of similar position and function. Without them, also, the institution could not carry forward its work effectively. The dependence of the administrative officers and the faculty members upon them is obvious. What did the depression do to them? Were their numbers decreased? How did this

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1
Some interesting comments on this problem have come to the committee. In efforts to protect the teaching staff it is evident that at some institutions the service staff was sacrificed in part, and not with the humane planning that one might expect to find on a college campus. In passing it may be mentioned that of the groups associated with the academic institutions, the service employees have shown the most pronounced tendency to organize, chiefly on a craft basis. There are signs that the paternalism that has characterized relationships with these employees is beginning to undergo transformation. Thus far this is almost entirely at larger institutions, it would seem.

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