University fails to support excellence

We work hard.

We win awards.

Nine to be exact.

We spend on average, 45 hours per week making sure that you are kept aware of “The Hill’s” happenings.

And in return, all we want is what’s been promised to us. We are The Famuan.

Sunday night, I listened as my staff voiced their frustrations with administration’s empty promises and shared stories of eviction notices and disconnected utilities.

I could sympathize – my lights were turned off last week. By the end of the night, 14 out of 17 members of The Famuan staff went on strike.

I couldn’t help but think back to a few days ago when the graduate students in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication said that they were quitting after the BCCA National Newspaper Conference because of their lack of a paycheck.

Sure enough, a paycheck came just hours before they planned to walk off the job.

I would like to be able to say that I’m not fighting the urge to walk away too. I would like to tell my staff that we should have faith in our institution and that checks are on the way.

I would like to fill them with such a passion for reporting the news that not even university incompetence, landlord threats and candle-lit study sessions could deter them.

But I can’t.

It’s difficult to believe relief is on its way when you’ve been lied to repeatedly.

It’s hard to concentrate on work when your lights are off. It’s even harder to accomplish while sitting with your belongings on the side of the road.

So maybe a strike is the only way to get the attention of the higher ups.

After all, surely they are getting their paychecks. If they were not, I’m sure things would not have gone on nearly this long.

I don’t blame my editors for walking out. As a leader it is important that I support their decision. As a journalist however, it is essential to me that their story is told.

And so, I support my staff from this windowless room as I type alongside five past and present staff members that have decided to stay. I will continue to work for them, just as they have worked for you.

Honestly, I don’t know when we will be compensated and honestly it doesn’t matter.

Maybe the revolution won’t be televised – many of us couldn’t afford to watch it anyway. But at least it will be printed, thoroughly and accurately.

Alaythia Burkins is a senior business administration student from West Orange, NJ. She can be reached at