The politics of skipping class

Don’t be a hypocrite: support the strike.

Photo: Drew Rooke

Students miss lectures and tutes. One need only compare a lecture hall in Week 1 and Week 10 to know that this is fact. Not every student does, but many do. Yet academics appear constantly, ready to teach, and students rarely offer an excuse or an apology. Some have legitimate reasons, others just can’t be bothered. I am guilty of both, but most often the latter.

The most frequent objection I heard from my fellow students since the NTEU and CPSU announced a strike, following a failure to agree with the University over the re-negotiation of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, was that they did not want the action to happen at the expense of their education. In light of the fact that many of these students would happily skip class, their objections seem slightly hypocritical.

The obvious response is that we pay to attend class, while the lecturers are paid to attend it. The argument that they are paid, that they receive some benefits, does not mean they have all the money or benefits that they ought to.

If we want the quality of education we have come to expect, we need to understand that we as students are not solely responsible for our education, but that we rely on the academics to give it to us. If they are unsatisfied, then we should be, too. If they want to strike for their rights, think about all the classes you skip for no good reason, then evaluate their reasons. Use the critical reasoning they have taught you.

There are other more important justifications for the strike than the one above. They can be found in the pages of this paper, on Facebook, Twitter, and in the offices of your Students’ Representative Council. There are also (slightly) better arguments against the strike than the one I responded to. They are still wrong though.

Photo: Stella Ktenas
Photo: Stella Ktenas
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