Showing posts with label #nawd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #nawd. Show all posts

21 February, 2020

Refrain: A is (still) for Adjunct*

As of this writing, I haven't stepped into a college classroom in a teaching capacity for almost four years.  Although I wrote about my exile and failed attempt to get back in great detail at the time, I haven't really written about it much since.  I think maybe I was too close to it all; too angry about it all; too focused on what I lost beyond a job I cared about -- maybe the last job I really cared about. A job for which I believe I had (and still have) a genuine calling.

Four years after National Adjunct Walk-Out Day and the Louisville Teach-In, very little about the plight of adjuncts has changed. Every late summer or early fall, the same stories, or rehashes of the same stories, cycle through the media. Stories of teachers living in their cars, living on the street, skipping necessary medications and meals in order to do the work they love to do.  Four years after and I'm not angry about it anymore; there's no room for anger when all it does is burn. My anger burned everything around me and almost burned me alive; it almost burned me, but it did nothing to burn down the injustice. I'm past the anger.  All that's left is the story. 

And even though I'll be posting bits of it here as it comes, a story has too much weight to just live in the digital world. It's time to bring it forth, like all buried titans.

Officially, I separated from the University of Louisville on April 20th 2015, of my own volition. But by then I'd been isolated from my colleagues and been subjected to increased scrutiny by the department.  Everything was fine at UofL until I tried to write an article for LEO Weekly about the working conditions of Part-Time Lecturers, also known as adjuncts.  By that time I'd already been banished from every Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) campus after the marketing and legal teams stalked me across social media in order to find the slightest pretext to get rid of me. And why did they even bother with one more disgruntled, underpaid, overworked, and generally exploited adjunct in a statewide community college system?

Because I was the most visible organizer of The Louisville Teach-In: a two-campus educational action in conjunction with National Adjunct Walk Out Day (#NAWD).

Up to this point, the fact that I have all the documentation to back this up hasn't meant much; I did my due diligence. I inundated them with FOIA requests. I gave my story to a local reporter, along with copies of all my findings.  I went to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. I contacted the National Labor Relations Board. I reached out to at least one fellow colleague, a tenured humanities professor with local status some activist cachet for help. None of it did any good. The reporter wrote a very nice story and did nothing with my FOIA research. The Labor Cabinet was only concerned about whether I was being denied Worker's Compensation, the NLRB informed that because I worked for a public institution, the NLRA didn't cover me, and my esteemed colleague took a pass because he was too worried about fighting for people who already had health insurance (i.e., full-time faculty).  I took it as far as I could without hiring an attorney – which, since I couldn't afford an attorney, meant the end of the road.

Before I even really begin this story, I'm going to tell you how it ends: with me not teaching. Goliath stomped David. The Philistines still run the once golden kingdom.

But it's not that simple, either. It can't be, because this is an American story – one of the few truly American stories, stripped of bootstrap and Manifest Destiny mythos, where the plucky activist  gets steam-rolled by a giant, mindless machine. Maybe not Horatio Alger. But definitely Frank Norris.

And a canary or two.
* Title originated from this LEO Weekly article by Laura Snyder

06 July, 2016

Notes from Outland

To steal from a brother or sister is evil. To not steal from the institutions that are the pillars of the Pig Empire is equally immoral.  -- Abbie Hoffman  

The wave of evil washes all our institutions alike. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information. -- Paulo Freire 

from: Contemporary Art on Human Bodies by Yung Cheng Lin
 I have long suspected that the purpose of such a long political season is to ensure that the American Public is just so tired of hearing about it, talking about, and thinking about it, that to vote seems pointless. All the lines are drawn. Everyone has decided who they're going to bet their children's future on. It's not quite time for the betting window to close; but at this point, only the lines are filled with the neophyte gamblers who are still trying to decide whether they want to box their trifecta or not.

In the middle of this political year -- in which my own opinion was formed even before I saw the thoroughbred parade -- I'm marking a sort of anniversary. This time last year, I was battling what I saw an as unfair termination from JCTCS. I knew then it was politically motivated. I know it now. At the time, though, I saw a way through it, a way to some kind of victory. There was still momentum from The Louisville Teach-In. We created a connection, a community, something that might turn into a movement. We got the word out. People were starting to listen.

And then -- it disappeared. KCTCS began weeding out the most vocal activists (I was not the only one)
and those who remained kept their heads down out of fear of similar reprisals. The institutional power play worked.

And even with the recent shake-up, in which KCTCS fired more than 100 people in reaction to our tin pot fascist governor's budget cuts, a few of those who remained silent, who would not stand up for themselves or for their peers, still have jobs.

I suppose that counts as some sort of victory. Only time will judge that.

But even though I'm on the outs with the institution of higher yearning, I find it difficult to let go. Anyone who knows me well knows I can nurse one hell of grudge. I can grow iguanas into full dragons with bellies full of an unending fire. I'm actually pretty good at compartmentalizing the negative feelings, the anger, because I am trying not to feed all my hungry demons. The truth is, though, that some demons grow best when they are shut up in the dark and ignored, locked up in my subconscious. This morning during my workout, my thoughts turned towards people who I thought were friends and comrades, and people who were not but whose betrayal was so profound that I still have violent revenge fantasies about them.*

I am trying not to feed those demons, but it's more difficult than you might think. I know all the canned memes about how grudges are just weight you can drop if you want; but the truth is, my grudges drive me, too.

Yahoos, from Gulliver's Travels. Or, Hillarites.
It's hard to let go. But I'm trying. I can't help but feel like I was deserted by what adjunct movement there was in Kentucky, and that what labor movement there is here is too busy trying to find a Democrat to believe in to actually change anything. The Bernie or Busters are holding onto the illusion that their candidate is actually the start of a revolution that none of them really wants.** The Hillarites are celebrating because Ol' Buddy Bill scared the FBI and DOJ away. The Trumpians are complaining about the corrupt politics, co-opting the language of the Bernie or Busters in an attempt to attracted pissed off "progressives" who would rather vote for a fascist than another career political criminal.

Brobingnagians. Or, Trumpians.
While everyone is crying for or against Hillary,

The dark powers are amassing power -- and we, the American People, are more focused on the whether the cherry on our shit sundae is maraschino or bright red sour.
Sanders is capitulating and Trump is marching forward like he already bought the White House. Meanwhile, the Koch Brothers are shaping public policy and increasing their cultural footprint simply by spending money on advertising, on influencing our infected institutions of higher education, and by pushing political candidates who will make their policy interests more of a priority than those of the constituents they were theoretically elected to represent.

In closing, I'll offer some track advice: if the horse you're thinking of voting for is carried around by yahoos, think twice. The handicap will hurt us all.
* #respondent53 has a playdough face. 
** Elections are not, by definition, revolutions. Democratic elections are meant to AVOID revolutions. If Sanders supporters really wanted a revolution, they wouldn't mess with the elections process. Neither would Trump supporters. Or Hillary supporters. Or Greens. Or Socialists. They would take to the streets.

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30 June, 2015

Currents Along the Dirty, Sacred River: Solidarity Updates, Of Flags and Phalluses, and Papa's Brand New (Old) Bag

 "We gave him a platform." -Toni Whalen, JCTC Head of Human Resources (via email from ORR)

My daughter, who also maintains a blog, gave me a hard time recently because I haven't been updating enough... which is a fair critique. It's not for the lack of things happening. You'd think I'd have more time to sit here, safe in the bunker, and spout off. Mostly I've been waiting for some of the smoke to clear. I've also been trying to drum up some work and have been moderately successful. Also, with all the internet either covered in stars and bars or rainbows and the passage of the the TPP  -- which will do to the globe what NAFTA did to North America -- and the fact that I am awaiting for yet another laughter filled response to my second Open Records Request.

The nature of my second request is such that I will hopefully be able to name the cabal otherwise known as #respondent53, after which I will be able to unleash the whole sorry and torrid tale of how corporate lackeys in higher education work to undermine activists and destroy the heart of what higher education used to mean... before the bean counters* and the lackeys* and the weasels* got in.

This has story Oscar movie material stamped all over, Dear Friends and Readers. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking they can get Joaquin Phoenix to play me:

Damn. Even I'm not sure that isn't me.

I kid, I kid. My nose looks nothing like that.

I'm working on an article for another blog, placing my unjust and illegal termination/banishment in the context of the national trend. And while there is plenty of good news out there, the fact is that adjunct labor activists -- particularly in the south are being targeted and removed from institutions that have no interest in higher education, in students, or in teachers.

Of Flags and Phalluses

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard that #SCOTUS finally agreed that the 14th Amendment applies to everyone. There is no marriage and "gay marriage." It's all just marriage, and I'm damn happy to see it. Of course, never let it be said that one idjit* or a flock of them can't ruin a good thing. County Clerks in the Kentucky counties of Boone (near Cincinnati) and Rowan (that's out in Morehead, a place near and dear to my heart.) have decided to stop giving out marriage licenses entirely because of what they believe is a divinely inspired moral objection.

The truth is, though, Dear Friends and Readers, that they are terrified at that thought of two men being intimate. I'd say they were upset about two women being intimate, but let's be honest -- that's had the wink wink naughty main stream porn nod of approval for years. Tightly crushed tits in an embrace  -- well, that and a bottle of moisturizer and you have a normal Friday night every lonely trailer park, highrise, and tenement across this country.  This obsessive objection to marriage equality is about people's personal inferiority complexes about their judas root.

I made it my business a long time ago to only worry about mine. This cut out a lot of puerile entertainment for me... most straight porn is about the penis (so that the "viewer" can imagine himself there as he "views".). But I am a happier guy for it. If you are one who spends too much time worrying about someone else's junk, try focusing on your own. Granted, you'll probably stay home more... but you'll be happier.

In the category of Red Herrings, you'll find the perpetually disturbing rukus over the confederate flag.  This should not be an argument, as far as I'm concerned. The stars and bars, like the Nazi Swastika, belongs in history books, not flying over government buildings. The fact that both Google and Amazon saw fit to block the southern cross was just one more piece of corporate opportunism.  And while the nation's Facebook users argued over flags and rainbows, Obama signed into law the most damaging and damning economic policy since NAFTA.

Racism and bigotry are not things to be tolerated or accepted, and must be fought where ever they rear their ugly, misshapen heads. But never forget that the powermongers have long used existing racism to slow solidarity and union movements and to ensure that their profit coffers are fat. Know who your enemy is.

Papa's Brand New (Old) Bag

That's right. I have managed to find work at Louisville's alternative weekly paper, The LEO. I'm back in the muckraking freelance journalist saddle again. Good Lord, I've missed it. 


I want to thank everyone again who signed the petition to have me reinstated without prejudice. If you'd still like to, or if you want to pass it around, here it is.
A friend and Fellow Worker, J.P. Wright, has started a small support fund. If you'd like to contribute, go here.
Some have expressed an interest in writing letters of support of my reinstatement. Here are some addresses:


*Please see The Parsons Dictionary of Often Used Words and Phrases, Desk Ed. for proper definitions if their meaning is unclear. 

17 June, 2015

Solidarty Along The Dirty, Sacred River, Part 3 -- The ORR, and News From the Halls of Higher Yearning

We Are All Cone Man

Updates: The ORR

I've written in the past about #respondent53 and this person's role in my illegal and unjust termination and banishment from JCTC and the entire KCTCS system. The Office of General Counsel /Lizard Overlords of the Apocalypse responded to my Open Records Request (ORR) with a barely complete personnel file and disk of files ranging from a copy of the ADA statute (which I read) and the Faculty Handbook (which I read again) as well as a few other bits and pieces.

Some of you may recall The Cone Man Saga. That little stunt, while getting me the ear of the President without having to go through the usual channels of blockage, obfuscation, and, outright lies, also put on the radar of folks who are overpaid and thin-skinned.

The administrative response to that particular blog was interesting, though I'm sure it helped raise my readership.* One particularly thin-skinned #badmin, who apparently hasn't breathed real air or been around the proles in quite some time whined:

It's awful. He's mocking us.

Another, whose skin is so thin as to be translucent, wrote:

The fact that he is so comfortable ridiculing us makes me angry.

Clearly, they don't know me well. I came out of the womb mocking presumed assumed authority figures.

There are some other gems, such as recommendations that I need to get over myself, and that I am hard to be kind to. Of course their version of kind would have me selling pencils out of a tin cup on the street... before they called in the cops themselves to have me arrested. 

I'm still ferreting out #respondent53. It's possible that #respondent53 is a couple of people... one of whom, according to my ORR, works in the office of  Institutional Research. She sent the Facebook post related to my alleged FERPA violation to Frankfort on her very own KCTCS email, on the condition that "[her] name be kept out of it." Cowards and kiss asses are so easy to pick out of the crowd. In some early conversations with around the old camp fire about #respondent53, I posited her as a potential candidate. But I'm not certain she acted alone. And, in fact some details I still need to verify before I can name names indicates that she did not act alone. 

One of the things that is becoming very clear: even paranoids have enemies. Even me.

News From the Halls of Higher Yearning

A friendly bird and comrade forwarded this little tidbit to me, straight from the outbox of newly crowned President/CEO and El Hefe of KCTCS:

I am pleased to share that the board approved a raise of (1% or $1000 ) for every regular full-time KCTCS faculty/staff member employed before April 1, 2015 who earned at least the “Fully Met Job Requirements”(M) rating in the 2014-15 KCTCS performance evaluation system.
I know this is only a modest increase, and we would have done more if the budget allowed.  It is important to note the $1000 increase is as much as a 4 % raise for some of our employees in the lowest pay bands.  Additionally, the $1000 will have a greater economic impact than a flat percentage raise for the majority of our employees. 



I want to thank everyone again who signed the petition to have me reinstated without prejudice. If you'd still like to, or if you want to pass it around, here it is.

A friend and Fellow Worker, J.P. Wright, has started a small support fund. If you'd like to contribute, go here.

Some have expressed an interest in writing letters of support of my reinstatement. Here are some addresses:

11 June, 2015

Solidarity Along the Dirty, Sacred River, Part 2: Action


A wise man is one who realizes that pissing off a donkey will only make him kick. With any luck, you've seen the Insider Louisville  article by David Serchuk about my situation. Some crucial information that is awaiting authentication was left out; but with any luck, when my open records request is answered (I was notified by email this week that it is forthcoming), there will be more, which I mentioned in my previous post. There are some updates, however, that I can talk about prior to seeing what the KCTCS Office of Legal Counsel releases.

  1. After some some research and the help of some supportive friends, I've learned that the National Labor Relations Board laid down no less than 4 decisions against employers using social media posts as a justification for firing an employee. 
  2. While it is true that I was a fixed-contract/ at will employee, the fact is that their dramatic bushwack of a meeting had nothing to do with terminating my employment for any of the vague reasons given by Lisa Brodsky or the spokeswoman for KCTCS, Kristin Middleton.  
  3. Toni Whalen, head of HR at the Louisville campus said specifically, in this meeting, that the FERPA violation would be the reason for termination listed in personnel file -- not that a class didn't make (it did, I was on my way to teach it), or that there was no need (the current adjuncts are stretched and exploited as it is). It could fall under the generic heading of "administrative matters." 
  4. If my termination were simply a matter of either 1) them not needing staff or 2) the class not making, all they had to do -- and all they would normally do -- is inform me over email, generally through my department chair. Had they done that, I might not have just cause for retaliation. It would have been a suspicious termination, but a legal one nonetheless.

Something else to consider is the fact that while the Facebook post may be a rare example of one my less than stellar social media moments, the fact is, all the information in that post is covered by an exception listed in FERPA:

"Another exception permits a school to non-consensually disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education records when such information has been appropriately designated as directory information. "Directory information" is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information could include information such as the student's name, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, grade level or year (such as freshman or junior), and enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)."

And, in spite of what people outside the inner halls of higher yearning institutions, FERPA offenses -- be they alleged, borderline, or confirmed -- are not handled directly by the Academic Dean, the head of HR, and the Provost.  If this situation had been handled SIMPLY ON THE MERITS THEY CLAIMED IN THE MEETING, I would have

  1. been called to a meeting with my department chair and given a severe tongue lashing; and
  2. ordered to undergo a FERPA counseling session...
both of which would have been marked in my personnel file.

I haven't even gone into detail about the administrative path my termination took. That's some murky shit, friends and readers.

And that, along with more about the scab otherwise known as #respondent53, is for a later post.

Please Help

I want to thank everyone who signed the petition to have me reinstated without prejudice. If you'd still like to, or if you want to pass it around, here it is.

A friend and Fellow Worker, J.P. Wright, has started a small support fund. If you'd like to contribute, go here.

Some have expressed an interest in writing letters of support of my reinstatement. Here are some addresses:

Insider Louisville: Sarah Kelley, VP of Content and Editorial Director:

LEO WeeklyAaron Yarmuth Executive Editor:

Louisville Courier Journal:

JCTC Human Resources: Toni Whalen, Head of Human Resources at JCTC:

KCTCS Head of Human Resources: Jackie Cecil:


06 March, 2015

In the Footsteps of Earth Shakers Along the Dirty Sacred River

[Link to the previous post]
The Louisville Teach-In
I couldn't do anything like this without her love, support, and spark.

When I decided to re-enter the harrowed halls of higher education , it was not without some hesitation. None of the problems that caused me to leave had been resolved... and, as a matter of fact, had gotten worse. The corporate take over of higher education has essentially infiltrated every aspect of the grand institution to the point that the powermongers are getting their fingers into the classroom. Because that corporate mentality dictates that money trickles up while shit and labor trickle down.

Being a passionate educator is doing the Good Work of the World. I believe that as firmly as I believe that Capitalism does more harm than good that the only thing the government ought to be doing is divesting itself of power and dumping all of the money wasted on congressional salaries into schools, hospitals, homes for the homeless, jobs for the jobless, and help for the helpless. I also believe that the corporate take over of education is nothing short of an attempt to undo the last bits of Democracy existing in our grand corporatocracy.

When I decided to re-enter higher education, I promised myself that I would do more than be an armchair anarchist, more than some philosophical fondant, the acceptably compromised and disaffected liberal -- that niche of teachers who made me as sick to my bones as the neofascists out at Arizona State University. It's not enough to wear the hat, to talk the talk of (r)evolution.

I knew I'd have to put up or shut up.

 Me at the Teach-In Courtesy @ElizabethLGlass

I've been keeping my ear to the ground to get a sense of noise. Kentucky is a notoriously anti-union state and it's only getting worse with the Randian/McConnell push for "right-to-work"* legislation. Fear of reprisal and job loss keeps a lot of union-minded teachers quiet while the Libertarians strut around misleading people into believing that all unions are bad and that the power paradigm cannot be shifted. In other words, folks are adopting the same attitude that made the Middle Ages so fun and full of warmth.

When I heard the rumblings of National Adjunct Walk-Out Day (#NAWD) I knew that was an opportunity to finally start having the discussion in public that I'd been having in group offices, Facebook feeds, emails, and in bars for more than a few years.  I knew it would be a hard way to go all by my lonesome.

But I knew I wasn't a lone. Not really. Amanda, true love of my heart, cast her lot in with me knowing full well my inclinations. When I told her about #nawd and my intention to organize some event, she immediately thought it was good idea.

FW Kate. Courtesy, Patrick Danner
It wasn't long before I met other like-minded and action-oriented folks, Fellow Worker Kate Lafferty,
her boyfriend FW Patrick. I met Elizabeth Glass, who is no stranger to tilting at windmills and other large social causes. When Kate and I started talking about #nawd -- to be honest, I don't remember who brought it up -- I immediately discovered a friend who would do more than talk. There is nothing more comforting for a would-be organizer than to find other like-minded people.

We not only got the college president to vocally and publicly support the Teach-In, we organized simultaneous events at two campuses; got endorsements from the Kentucky IWW, Kentucky Jobs with Justice, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the SEIU; the put together materials so that our colleagues could present in their classes on the day of; attracted enough attention to merit the attention of one local media outlet, as well as being included on the #NAWD map

We spoke to a decent sized crowd at JCTCS, and there was a small meeting at the University of Louisville, led by FW Reagan and Daniel Runnels, a part-timer in the Spanish Department.  It was an important and declarative first step in what is nothing short of (r)evolution.

Margaret Mead is often quoted as saying "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." I'd say that's about right.
*Right-to-work: really means the right of the boss to fire you without reason, pay you less than what you're worth, and strip you of your right to free assembly in a union.

05 March, 2015

Confluence Along the Dirty, Sacred River: The Cone Man Saga

Note: For Illustration Purposes Only

[Dedicated to: Amanda AKA Traveller's Angel; Stacy T., who doesn't take shit from anyone; and Comrades Kate L. and Elizabeth G. Also Dedicated to the memories of my father and my Grandpa Parsons, neither of whom took shit from anyone, either.]

Someone smarter than me -- not to mention a hell of a lot better looking -- once pointed out that life is a series of small indignities. My problem, though, is that after a point, all the little indignities pile up into one large massive gaping maw of an indignity. Add to that I was born without a patient bone, and the fact that while I try very hard to respect people, I have no respect for institutions, for ego-feeding pomp or for for unnecessary ritual. Add to THAT my natural contrariness and my need to somehow, in some small way, make the world a better place.

That, Dear Readers, is the formula for the origin of Cone Man.

Security camera footage of Cone Man. Check out that snazzy hat!
Sometimes when I pull into the secure faculty parking lot at one of the institutions of higher learning where I teach, there are parking spaces blocked off by cones.

Now, if you know anything about parking in higher education, you'll know that parking is one of many things that it is short supply. Parking passes (TP)  are handed out based on an algorithm using the number of students, faculty, and staff  -- also referred to as Cogs (Ct), the number of classes -- also referred to as Product -- offered(P), the number of total parking spaces available (TS), and the median average number* of people who come and go in a given day on a college campus (M). The formula probably looks something like this
 TP = C x P / .75xTS ($) + Factor X** / M = You're Totally Screwed.
More beautiful beard footage.
Because I teach in the morning, these things rarely inconvenience me personally. But anyone who knows me knows that I firmly embrace and live the IWW slogan AN INJURY TO ONE OF US IS AN INJURY TO ALL OF US. It's not just about me, my comfort, or my sense of indignation. When spaces are blocked off, they are blocked for the "Important People" -- dignitaries, friends of the administration, ecetera. These are people who do not do the Good Work of the World. These are those people who see themselves as special -- or are identified as special by the Powers-That-Be who oversee the exploitation of part-time instructors like me and 75% of the people who teach college courses.

Typically, I move the cones when I see them. I realize this is not setting the administration building on fire, but as they all probably have a secure bunker to run to the event of fire, flood, Armageddon, or surprise zombie army attack, setting a fire would only drive them out of the light. I move the cones so that my colleagues will have some spaces to park when they come in to do the Good Work of the World. I move the cones, not to give myself a place to park, but to quietly, peacefully, but directly thwart those who place others above me and my colleagues without so much as a "Please" or a "By your leave."
This last time, however, Dear and Faithful Readers, I was caught on tape.
Apparently the cones I moved caused parking problems for friends of the college president, the mayor, and the governor.
If you're going to aim high unintentionally, Friends, aim high.
I sat before the division dean and my department chair, carefully -- and with as much good humor and deference as I could muster while eating an orange -- explained my inexplicable infraction of the assumed authority's authority  I wasn't entirely sure of the outcome, and I would be lying if I didn't say that I half expected to be shown the door. After all, my time in and out of the American work force has shown me the single most immutable truth of Capitalism:
I am -- like most everyone else -- entirely and easily replaceable. 
My students might have missed me, briefly. But if they had given  a trained monkey a textbook, a syllabus, and a grease board marker they would have probably shown him the same amount of deference.
It wouldn't have been the first time that the more pernicious parts of my personality landed me in trouble. As a matter of fact, I've been the proverbial dog wagged by that particular pernicious tail for most of my life. Ask anyone who has ever known me even moderately well, and they will attest that I possess a character that presents as a mercurial and capricious personality. When things are going well, and when the best possible course of action is to keep my head down, do my job, make no complaints and attract no attention, I will be the one who finds a way to take a giant, colonic dump on every chance of success I may have built up.
In this case, I was trying to imagine how I'd explain this to Amanda, my mom, her parents. Then again, neither Amanda nor my mother would be surprised. They know me too well.
The division dean was flabbergasted. Such behavior honestly eludes her understanding, which probably accounts for the reasons why she is a dean. My department chair was trying desperately not to laugh, which probably accounts for why she is a pretty amazing department chair who is smart enough to not want to be dean.
In order to soothe the way and try and seem far more collegial than I actually am, I offered to apologize to the appropriate people. First of all, I wanted to deflect as much blow back as I could, while fully embracing the consequences of my actions in order to reduce any potential collateral damage.  I was in the midst of helping organize a Teach-In as part of National Adjunct Walk-Out Week and did not want any negative light cast on those efforts.
And besides, I did feel a little bad; apparently some of my colleagues in the nursing department were pulled out of class and made to move their cars so that those poor, poor dignitaries could park.
Let that one sink in a minute. Then remember that the purpose of National Adjunct Walk-Out Day was to highlight the exploitative and unjust treatment of part-time instructors. The people for whom they were made to move their cars were on campus to discuss ways to salvage the old seminary building... big money, in other words... and someone teaching people HOW TO SAVE LIVES was pulled out of class so that friends of Governor Beshear didn't have to walk the same distance most students and a lot of faculty walk.
So I emailed the college President, Tony Newberry and one of the instructors who had to move her car. The instructor was gracious and college President was impressed with the tone of my letter. He was also open to discussions about adjunct issues. A meeting was set within a week that ended up including Yours Truly, Comrade Kate L., the division dean, my department chair, the Provost, and the Dean of Academic Affairs.
And all because I moved some cones.
Consequently, he was NOT aware that faculty was pulled out of class to move their cars, and he promised me  he would take steps to ensure such things would never happen again.
Here, for your entertainment, I am including exact wording of the email I sent to Tony Newberry:

President Newberry,

There are, I suppose, worse ways to introduce oneself to a college president; and while there are ideas that come to mind, none of them exist outside of a National Lampoon movie. Therefore, for lack of a better introduction: 

I am Cone Man.

I apologize for any stress, or inconvenience, or unintended embarrassment I may have caused. As I explained yesterday to both [division dean] and [department chair] (cc'd), my reason for moving the cones was simple. I am a teacher, the son of a retired public school teacher. Education is one of the few noble professions left, and, as far as I can see, one of the few with such social, political, culture, and personal impact. I hold my profession and my colleagues in high esteem. On those occasions when the limited parking we are afforded is cut down even more, the absence of consideration or respect (albeit unintended) bothers me. We have very little to show for our passion, our time, and our concern about our students. Parking, and our access to it, while not generally listed as a benefit, most certainly is  -- especially when one considers the city's near predatory parking policy.

So, I moved the cones.

However, it was not my intention to embarrass you personally or the college as a whole. I simply did not want my colleagues put out when it is the faculty and staff who do what I consider to be the Good Work of the World. 

I am aware that in trying to make what I considered a small, generally harmless statement, I not only inconvenienced you, but also three of my colleagues, who were dragged out of class and made to move their vehicles. I am deeply sorry to have had such a wide spread and negative impact on the work day of my colleagues and their students.

Please be assured that I will not engage such behavior again.

I understand from [department chair] that you have been made aware that some of us are organizing an event around National Adjunct Walk Out Day on February 25th. I would love the opportunity to discuss this with you in more detail. I promise not to park or to keep others from parking in an inappropriate manner.


Look for an installment tomorrow, Dear Readers, all about the Louisville-Teach-In, and about some new things on the horizon.

 * Median Average Number is a general term based on a national average that may or may not reflect the actual number of students on campus at any given time. But since this is a generally accepted number derived from another algorithm so esoteric that only Pascal, Stephen Hawkings, Spinoza, and my high school algebra teacher Mr. Rudd  could ever understand it, no other campus specific research has been done out of fear it will implode the known universe.
** Factor X is, like the Median Average Number, an arcane and difficult to nail down number derived purely from the emotional glee created amongst registrars and admissions counselors when they intentionally (or unintentionally) misdirect current or potential students through complex paperwork, badly worded regulations, and insulting paternalistic behavior reminiscent of Reconstruction Era Carpetbaggers.