Posts from Irv Peckham in Baton Rouge
With his permission, I am posting Irv Peckham's messages to the WPA-L listrserv.
Thu 9/15/2005 12:18 PM
Re: UNO and Hurricane Katrina an d adjuncts
It's been unclear about adjuncts. We have been able to hire only one adjunct from UNO--on the stipulation that he was being paid by them, to which we added 600.00. big deal.
i have received about 20 inquiries from NO teachers. Of course we can't hire them because we don't get any extra monies--they paid the tuition to the NO university and we're not asking them to pay again. there will be some negotiations about this further, but in essence, the adjuncts got stuck. I suspect all tenured or tenured track faculty will be paid. so what's new (knowing that must of us are tenured or tenure track).
Fri 9/9/2005 10:33 AM
News from Louisiana--update
As you may expect, we're in crisis mode. I just thought I would add a brief report at Shirley's urging--I know Lilly has given several updates. I haven't been able to follow WPA discussions on either this or other issues, mostly the consequence of what I know Lilly has touched on. I just got my internet connection back on Wednesday (a blessing, in many ways), which has kept me from doing anything but the bare essentials online.
At LSU, we are trying to accommodate as many students as possible--last date for enrolling is today. I expect we will have enrolled an additional 3500 students. Big problem of course is that they in general have to be absored in current courses--we can't hire new people to teach new courses (no additional monies to pay for instructors or professors [some exceptions to this]. So we have the expected consequence: raise class levels. We have bumped up our maximums--but we also know that the inch that was given yesterday in crisis mode is remembered as the status quo tomorrow in normal mode. A couple of people have volunteered to teach on line (Charles Cooper and one other person from Michigan Tech--Michigan Tech person, will you email me again? I mislaid your note volunteering to teach a class). This will help.
Baton Rouge has of course been transformed as a city--it didn't suffer much, but it now has to become New Orleans II; people here are doing a great deal to help the survivors. All is not pretty, however. Some expected behavioral patterns are emerging with racist and classist over and undertones. People acting toward each other as they will when they are put in crisis and crowded situations.
The response to the crisis was terribly (and still is) bungled. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that many hundreds have died because of a bungled crisis response. The people who were slow to respond and also responded as bureaucrats rather than professionals bear responsibility for those lives. I think most people here know that.
Although we go through our normal lives, all of us here just have this sick feeling that isn't going to go away for a long time.
Wed 8/31/2005 10:40 AM
Re: Gulf Coast colleagues
I think Thibodaux didn't get hit very badly--compared to new orleans. I would like to know, too, because I was thinking of our friend, Myron Tuman, down there. Of course it's no longer a case of worrying about individuals--this devastation is on such a horrible scale--one thinks of thousands instead.
Here's a link for ways to help. The best help is of course people power. I think there is a great need for bedding, pillows, anything that will make sleeping on the cement better--but I don't know where to send those or whether one can. I think we need them in Baton Rouge. I suspect that not too far down the road, any clothing will help--the trick lies in organizing the collection and distribution.
Myron: are you all right? And what is the news from down there?
Does anyone have any information from or about Nicholls State? A dear friend is ther (It's in Thibodaux, LA, south-west of New Orleans)? I tried emailing, then tried bringing up the University, but keep getting a message "www.nicholls.edu cannot be found" -- very unsettling. My friend's name is Windy Rachal; if anyone has any info, I'd be most grateful.
Wed 8/31/2005 10:03 AM
Re: report from our WPA colleague in Baton Rouge
Like, Lilly, I have only intermittent access to email--no electricity in our area yet. Many of our students' families are of course suffering--the devastation in new orlean is, as I am sure all of you know, horrible. Deaths haven't really been counted--bodies just floating in the street, and many people waiting, perhaps hopelessly, to be rescued. Our news sources are limited since most of us don't really have ready access to electricity. I wish I could suggest positive ways to help--but I think right now people are still reeling. I know we have several colleagues in new orleans that we haven't heard from.
Director of University Writing Program
Louisiana State University
Wed 8/31/2005 9:59 AM
Re: Gulf Coast colleagues
I just received the note below after I wrote to Irv Peckham to ask if he and his family were OK.
>No access to electricity & therefore email, so I have missed all that email.
>First time back on. Yes--ok here. Just terrrible, as I guess everyone
>knows, in new orleans. Doing what we can to help.