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Wednesday June 27, 2007

FIU and UM have a new program in place that allows students of either school to attend classes at both. But wait: it only applies to Doctoral-level students. What’s up with that?

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Wednesday April 11, 2007

University of Miami Complaints. I think a video-blog of walking around and asking people what’s annoying them is an idea that needs to be extended outside the UM campus, where the best that rich kids can come up with is that parking is a hassle. Still sort of funny, though. (via ignore)

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Saturday January 20, 2007

The University of Miami has to get permission from the City of Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board to build anything of significance on campus. However, the board has refused to approve anything since 2004. Most recently at a January 10th meeting, the university’s 25 projects were unanimously rejected.

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Thursday January 11, 2007

2007 We Media Film Festival

We Media Miami logo OK, let me see if I understand this correctly. A conference, We Media Miami (that’s a link to a post on the conference’s blog about the conference), which is now in its third year, and this year includes an “online film festival,” We Media Film Festival, which is aimed at short YouTube-style amateur video (in fact, you submit entries by uploading or by YouTube link). Back to the blog, and here’s a press release about the festival part. All of this is presented by ifocus, a non-profit, and hosted by the University of Miami School of Communications to present the conference.

The conference is expensive, and the film festival can be entered by anyone (deadline: February 2), so no action required. I mention this mainly because it’s another example of something interesting the UM School of Communications is doing (Tuesday we noticed BarCamp), and because it’s cool.

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Tuesday January 9, 2007

BarCamp

Barcamp Miami

Cool! BarCamp is happening in Miami. Very exiting. That’s a link to a blog, which has preliminary information and links; link to the wiki page. For some idea of what this is like, see Rules of BarCamp. More here.

Update: Still confused? Wikipedia to the rescue.

Update: BarCamp Google group.

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Friday June 23, 2006

Ana Menendez reports on the treatment of students who conducted a sit-in in support of striking UM janitors. “First, administrators threatened students with major charges that could get them expelled or suspended. When a who’s-who of Miami’s legal talent stepped forward to defend the students, UM quickly retreated, downgrading the complaint to ‘university offenses.’”Once again demonstrating that the University of Miami is run by assholes.

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Friday June 16, 2006

The UM janitors are now officially unionized.

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Thursday April 20, 2006

rendering

Rendering of the University of Miami medical-practice building, to be completed in 2009, downtown. (via Miami Transit)

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Wednesday April 5, 2006

What we've learned from the University of Miami Janitors' strike (updated)

About 900 service workers from the University of Miami went on strike March 1, demanding a living wage, health benefits, and union representation. Of course, that wasn’t the beginning; they had been making those demands for a long time, more recently assisted by the SEIO, who set up a fancy website and organized some community pressure on the school. In particular, the pressure focused on University of Miami President Donna Shalala (who, coincidentally, was director of the Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration), who established a group to conduct a review of compensation and benefits to contract employees on February 23 (source).

Huh? She wanted to know how much her janitors were making, so she “established a group” to “conduct a review?” What ever happened to “making a phone call” to “your human-resources department?” Oh, and how long were we expecting to wait to hear back from this group? The link above says “within a month.” We probably shouldn’t be too surprised, given how these beuracracies work.

Now, the university does not employ the service workers directly; it contracts with UNICCO, which promptly set up a couple of cynical websites, including plain vanilla and blog flavor to combat the bad PR coming out of all this (the fact is, though, that UNICCO doesn’t set the wages – the school does). The blog is particularly hilarious; for example, in responding to this document, “Why the Protest Continues: It’s All About Democracy” (a petition by the UM faculty and students in support of the strikers), it says “I would like to take the time to refute their points one at a time, but since their missive is four pages long and virtually each page has a factual inaccuracy, I’ll stick to the more salient points.” The “missive” takes three screens on my monitor, with a generously-sized font, but even if true, “virtually each page” means that the author found three factual inaccuracies and couldn’t be bothered to address them all.

Anyway, Donna Shalala seemed pretty cool under fire, considering she had no authority to do what was being asked of her; for that, the university’s Board of Trustees has to vote. That they did, exactly a month after the announcement about the study. In a funny coincidence, the decision came down on the same day that the strikers staged a protest at Gloria Estefan’s house (she’s a one of the Trustees). There’s a joke here about “if you want something done, go to Gloria,” but nevermind.

The strike continues; the issue now is how the unionization of the service workers will proceed. UM students have gotten in on the act with a small-scale sit-in. And workers at other universities are talking about similar actions.

It’s nice to see that collective bargaining is alive and well. This gets into a lot of issues, including the labor market vs. housing costs, illegal immigration, and the minimum wage. Market forces are great, but the collective bargaining power of employees is a market force that has to be reckoned with. The salaries we’re talking about here are roughly half of Miami’s $35,000 median income.

Update: A few more sources, which may round out my musings:

*“UNICCO’s response”:http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-21-2006/0004324517&EDATE to said allegations.

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