Late Friday afternoon at a meeting between UMKC Chancellor Guy Bailey and Garry Kemp , Business Manager of the Greater Kansas City Building & Construction Trades Council, and Missouri State Senators Victor Callahan and Chris Koster, Chancellor Bailey announced he would not close The Institute for Labor Studies for now. He committed to sit down with me to discuss a restructuring which will preserve what we have. What we agree to will then be put in writing for approval by the labor community.
The struggle to save ILS isn’t over, but I view this as a great step forward and appreciate the Chancellor’s willingness to engage in further discussion about the future of labor education at UMKC.
I also want to thank the hundreds of Kansas City labor union leaders and members, UMKC faculty and students, the many members of the KC community, and labor education supporters and scholars from across the country for their letters to the Chancellor and their messages of support to me. I also want to thank reporters at the Pitch, The Kansas City Star, EKC, and Inside Higher Education for their timely and accurate coverage of the issue.
One of the letters sent to the Chancellor was from Steve Murphy, a former plant manager who now teaches at Benedictine College . Murphy said, “The ILS. . . is a crown jewel of UMKC's cutting edge intellectual capital.....and cannot better exemplify - in my humble view - your official website's proclamation of what UMKC is all about: "We connect education with a dynamic city and its people, and we connect research with real societal issues." I sincerely hope that our current struggle to save labor education can reignite a dialogue within the university and between it and our community about UMKC’s role and responsibilities to greater Kansas City .
I will keep you informed of the progress in our discussions.
If you haven’t seen the media coverage, here are some links:
Pitch blog: http://blogs.pitch.com/plog/2007/06/umkc_may_fire_labor_supporter.php
Inside Higher Ed: http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/06/20/umkc
Kansas City Star: http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/157406.html
Diane Stafford blog: http://workspacekc.typepad.com/workspace_by_diane_staffo/
KCStar Letter to Editor: http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=119FF9A896671798&p_docnum=1 (half way down page