Dear Editor:

It is said that Chicken Little tried to convince all the other chickens that the sky was falling. In the end it did not, but a lot of the chickens wasted months of their lives imagining the worst, and living miserable lives. In the end, that simple misrepresentation of a potential reality caused a lot of unnecessary harm in the chicken community.
Over the past few months, the Leadership of UPI has been telling the faculty (and media outlets) that the sky is about to fall. UPI has said the Admin. is insisting of 4-4 teaching loads, even though the Admin. has publicly stated 4-4 teaching loads are off the table. The UPI reply? "Well, the sky could still fall - the Admin. could still force higher teaching loads."
The UPI leadership is now saying "the Administration may be planning to walk away from negotiations, declare an impasse, and impose a contract this Dec."
Where is the evidence? There is none.
The sky is not falling. The Admin. has given not evidence that they have even considered declaring an impasse. Speculating openly that the sky could fall does not mean the sky is falling. But it can lead some chickens to act as if the sky is falling, in the absence of any evidence, and vote to strike.
Misrepresenting the current state of affairs is tantamount to lying about the current state of affairs. This is especially the case when it is the leadership that is perpetuating these statements devoid of truth. Leaders must be held to higher standards of morality.
The sky is not falling. The Admin. has publicly said mandatory 4-4 teaching loads are off the table.
That was the union.
The Admin. has not said it intends to declare or is considering an impasse.
That was the union.
In addition, the sun is not shining elsewhere, despite the cries of Chicken Little.  The faculty at MOST of the other 11 public universities are not getting pay raises.
NIU is, but we are not NIU.  They are a doctoral institution. We are a master's, large institution. NIU expects its faculty to win external grants. We do not. They have much stricter tenure and promotion standards regarding the quantity and quality of publications that many of our faculty would struggle to meet.
At another institution, it is reported that the faculty MAY get a less than 1% pay raise. At that institution, 22 academic programs were eliminated, faculty were laid off, and the tuition burden on students rose 15%.
If Chicken Little would spend more energy working with the Admin, rather than working to divide and conquer our beloved community, perhaps we could arrive at a fair and equitable contract sooner rather than later. It has been 505 days since the negotiation period began.
The sky has not fallen.
Chicken Little needs to stop quibbling (lying) about what might become, and work toward what will restore the essence of community here.

Robert J. Hironimus-Wendt
Western Illinois University