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Thursday, Sep 28, 2023

Dear staff, from the editorial board

Last week, we published a story about efforts among facilities staff to unionize. The article gave an overview of last year’s workforce planning process, as well as the movement on the part of many of you to create a union in the wake of that process. It referenced a broad swath of your experiences as Middlebury employees, both during workforce planning and in your everyday working lives. As student journalists, we’re grateful and honored that you shared those experiences with us. As ordinary Middlebury students, we’re incredibly troubled by what those experiences suggest.

In particular, we’re troubled by the obvious and deeply upsetting disconnect between the thought and effort you put into constructing our day-to-day lives here and the ways in which the administration treated you  throughout the workforce planning process. We’re saddened that, as a work environment, Middlebury has lost the “family feel” it once had. And we’re also aware of (not to mention profoundly apologetic for) our own roles in taking away that feel, whether it be through a general attitude of disrespect or larger, more direct offenses, like recent Atwater damages. 

But above all else, we’re concerned by your repeated allusions to “voicelessness.” Again and again, you spoke about an inability to vocalize your frustrations and concerns. You expressed feeling like there aren’t effective lines of communication between yourselves and the administration, or the broader institution. Feeling like, throughout a process that determined the fate of your livelihoods, you were “left in the dark.” 

We want to be clear: in no way do we think that kind of voicelessness is OK. We want you to know that, just as you support us — at all hours of the day, all over campus and in ways we will never fully be able to appreciate — we support you. We also want to extend an offer. The Campus might be a “student newspaper,” but it isn’t just a newspaper for students. We’d like to publish more stories like last week’s. We’d like to continue to hold the administration and student body accountable for what are, as often as not, the less-than-satisfactory ways in which you’re treated. We’d like to open up our pages — as widely and in as many different, vivid ways as possible — to your concerns and experiences. 

Our inbox and office are always open. Because after last week, we hear you. Or, maybe more accurately, we’d really, really like to.