Loyola University Chicago undergraduates will vote at the end of the semester about whether or not to unionize, according to Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) President Mariana Chavez. The issue will be posed on the annual referendum vote that comes toward the end of the spring semester.
“We’ve seen a lot of precedent surrounding unionization on campus, and we want to ensure that our students have the chance to decide democratically whether or not they should be represented by a union,” said Chavez.
If students unionize, administrators will have a harder time suspending or expelling them. Students will have to pay a membership fee to the union and will be unable to talk to administrators ever again. Instead, the union will negotiate with administrators on behalf of the students, regarding everything from dining hall offerings to course offerings.
The flow of governance would be quite different if students unionize, according to Chavez.
“If the student body decides to join the union, students will have to propose their ideas to SGLC. SGLC will then propose the ideas to the union. The union will then propose the ideas to the administration. If the administration has feedback, they will have to pass that back to the union, who will then pass feedback to SGLC, who will then pass feedback to students,” Chavez said.
“I’ve never lost a game of telephone, so I’m convinced I can be a strong leader if the students decide to unionize.”
Administrators expect that if students unionize, research productivity will slow and students will stop caring as much about their grades, according to Dean of Students K.C. Mmeje.
The student unionization vote follows the decision of faculty in Loyola’s School of Arts and Sciences to unionize in January of this year. Additionally, Loyola’s English Language Learning Program (ELLP), an 11-member department that teaches English to students who speak English as a second language, is voting on whether or not to unionize, and results will be in by April 4.
Unionized Arts and Sciences faculty member Charles Xavier encourages students to join a union.
Xavier has been teaching dance at Loyola for the past five years as a part-time adjunct. He teaches three classes per semester and makes $4,000 per course. When Loyola Arts and Sciences professors voted to unionize in January, he was elated because unionization provided him with “job security and peace of mind.”
“I could have taught dance at [New York University’s] Tisch [School of the Arts], but it would have been too high-pressure for me — too much stress,” he said. “Dance at Loyola is comparatively pretty laid-back. I taught my kids how to twerk last week. Half of them already had learned from Jason Derulo when he came to Colossus last year.”
An ELLP faculty member who did not want to be named in The Kleenix said they were looking forward to the job security as well and think every group on campus should unionize — except the administration, who “should never, ever, be allowed to unionize because that would be wrong.”
“I definitely think it makes a lot more sense to have a nebulous third party negotiate with the bosses versus just walking across campus to talk to administration. The labor union will be able to represent my day-to-day problems and students’ day-to-day problems better than any of us in meetings, that’s for sure.”
The unionization vote will occur on April 20 via email with results following the next day.