There are demonstrations planned this weekend outside Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass., where all pre-college level teaching is to be stopped from the summer.
Here is what the staff are being told in their union journal:
What is at stake hereThe decision will affect more than 83 members of the Longy faculty, who are listed on Longy’s website as teaching in the Community Programs division, along with their nearly 1000 students. The majority of these teachers will lose their jobs at Longy entirely (54 according to Longy’s press release), although a number will be able to continue at Longy with less work, because they are also on the Conservatory faculty. As a result of the reduction in hours of work, some of these Conservatory faculty members who have been teaching in Community Programs may also lose some benefits as well.
What could be lost if we don’t act nowThe Community Programs division of the School is currently offering lessons and classes to non-degree-seeking adults and children in Composition and Theory, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Early Music, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice, and Woodwinds and Brass. Community Programs class offerings begin for students as young as one-year old, and extend to our oldest students in a special program at Cadbury Commons Assisted Living in Cambridge. Children of all ages come to Longy to study; some eventually become professional musicians, and others find interesting new ways to incorporate their love for music into their lives as amateurs (see Ten Years: The Michael B. Packer Award, LFU News, April 23, 2012). Some adult students in non-musical professions fit music lessons and classes at Longy into busy lives. Other adults who study at Longy may have degrees in music, or play professionally already, but they return to Longy to polish and round out their skills and musicianship in an environment that has been both friendly and marked by excellence.Community Programs students have come from many socio-economic backgrounds. They have included, among others, both Harvard professors and students at Cambridge public schools, some of whom have attended Longy on scholarship. A number of students take lessons and classes with more than one teacher, or have family members who take lessons with a second teacher. Following each of their teachers to different new locations may cause logistical difficulties for families of these students, or cause some students to disrupt beneficial student-teacher relationships.Non-degree students of all ages have come to Longy for many decades from Cambridge and surrounding towns, from out of state, and from many countries around the world, in order to take advantage of the School’s well-rounded and world renowned faculty, many of whom have advanced degrees and considerable performing experience locally, nationally, and internationally.Many members of the current Community Programs faculty were also members of the Conservatory faculty prior to the “faculty realignment” (see Voices of the “realigned”, LFU News, June 10, 2010), which was then announced as a one-time event. Some of these faculty members helped the School gain accreditation for the Master of Music degree. Many current Community Programs faculty have served the School for decades, often giving extra hours in service to the School, because they were inspired by the idea of offering excellent, well-rounded music education to students of all ages and levels.The Community Programs also currently offers a recently introduced Pre-College Academy for children grades 9 through 12, as well as the Young Performers Program, which was founded by former Longy Director and eminent violinist Roman Totenberg in 1977. The Young Performers Program is currently open to students, ages 8 through 13. There have been no provisions announced to students who are now in the midst of these programs regarding the certificates that they were expecting to receive from the School in the coming years.Funds for numerous annual awards intended for students in the Preparatory or Continuing Studies programs (which comprise the Community Programs division) have been donated to the School over many years by people who particularly valued the kind of musical education provided to non-degree students. These awards include the Sosman, Kotok and Packer awards among others. What will become of these awards and the funds attached to them?
The role of the UnionThe LFU Executive Board itself will also be severely affected by the School’s decision to close Community Programs, as four of its current members teach solely in Community Programs. Three of these four members were also on the Conservatory faculty prior to the faculty “realignment” of 2010. For the Union to continue after the announced closure of Community Programs, it would have to elect four new members to the Board from the Conservatory faculty, to take office as soon as the division closure occurs.While the School has the right to make certain types of strategic planning decisions without bargaining with the Union, under the National Labor Relations Act, it is not at all clear that their decision to close Community Programs is such a decision. The School may be required to bargain over this decision with the Longy Faculty Union. Furthermore, in any case, the School is required to bargain with the Union over the effects of such a decision on the Collective Bargaining Unit (CBU) members. Effects bargaining typically includes issues such as severance pay, benefits, timing, and potentially many other issues.
The factsWhile the School claims that space concerns are motivating their decision, the facts say something completely different. On March 17, 2009, Karen Zorn wrote to the staff and faculty, “Last semester our Concert Office and Operations Departments conducted a room use survey to help us understand how we use our space. After analyzing our data we discovered some interesting findings, the most important being: Longy does, in fact, have enough space. Currently, our buildings are only being used 66% of the time. Another way of saying this is: Longy is unoccupied 34% of the time.” [emphasis from original email]Since that time, Community Programs enrollment has declined by approximately 200 students, and Conservatory enrollment has not changed much in the last four years, hovering around 200 students. Furthermore, the School recently acquired a new building. So the space situation is considerably better than when Zorn declared that Longy “does, in fact, have enough space.”
NLRB investigates Longy once againIn the meantime, what Longy did not tell you is that theNational Labor Relations Board is, once again, deep into a lengthy investigation, now more than seven months old, of charges filed against it by the Longy Faculty Union for numerous violations of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB has told the LFU Executive Board that it has found merit with approximately ten different allegations and there are presently two separate amended sets of charges pending at the NLRB. We expect the results of that lengthy investigation within the next few weeks and we will keep you apprised.
How you can helpWe have been grateful to hear from supporters offering help, and have been gratified to read comments on various public forums in support of Community Programs faculty over the last two days. We feel shock and pain over the abrupt administrative decision, and the way in which it was conveyed to faculty, students, and the community. Anyone who has read the LFU News from the beginning knows, though, that we have had cause to feel similar emotions in the past few years.It has been and continues to be our ambition to take the high road as we respond to the disrespect and dismissiveness with which the administration has treated us and our students. We invite our supporters to contribute to public forums so that the wider community understands the massive extent of the potential loss here. We encourage you to do any or all of the following that you feel comfortable doing to support our cause:
- Write to Leon Botstein, President of Bard College:email@example.com
- Write to the Longy Board of Governors: Matina S. Horner (Chair), Virginia Meany (Vice-Chair), Melinda N. Donovan (Secretary), Peter C. Aldrich, Sandra Bakalar, Leon Botstein, Thomas M. Burger, Gene D. Dahmen, Patricia H. Deyton, Robert S. Epstein, Harriet E. Griesinger, Charlotte I. Hall, George F. Hamel Jr., Timothy J. Jacoby, Ruth M. McKay, Louise Ambler Osborn, Patricia Ostrander, Dimitri Papadimitriou, Kalen Ratzlaff, David E. Schwab II, Charles P. Stevenson Jr., Marilyn Ray Smith, Robert B. Straus, Jeannette H. Taylor, J. David Wimberly, Gary Wolf, Karen Zorn.
- Write to the Longy Administration: Karen Zorn (firstname.lastname@example.org), Wayman Chin (email@example.com), Kalen Ratlzlaff (firstname.lastname@example.org), Miriam Eckelhoefer (email@example.com)
- Post on any of the blogs linked above.
- Post on the Longy School Facebook page here.
- Post on the Longy Faculty Union page here.
- Contact Mayor of Cambridge Henrietta Davis firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-349-4321.
- Contact Cambridge City Council Members E. Denise Simmons (email@example.com), Leland Cheung (firstname.lastname@example.org), Marjorie C. Decker (email@example.com), Craig A. Kelley (firstname.lastname@example.org), David P. Maher (email@example.com), Kenneth E. Reeves (firstname.lastname@example.org), Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. (email@example.com), Minka van Beuzekom (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Contact State Representatives Stephen F. Lynch (email or 202-225-8273) and Michael E. Capuano (email or 202-225-5111).
- Contact Governor Deval Patrick (email or 617-725-4005)