Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Unions representing full and part-time faculty, staff and teaching assistants at Western Michigan University are calling on the school to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19. They say students need to be able to socially distance in classrooms, instructors need better protective gear, and Western needs to revisit the badging system meant to keep sick students out of class.

courtesy of the artist

Lera Auerbach's 2002 Lonely Suite (Ballet for a Lonely Violinist) will offer special resonance for us after a year of isolation due to COVID-19. It's at the heart of a recital at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, Sep 22 by Megan Crawford, a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and visiting instructor at Western Michigan University. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, Crawford talks about the pieces that inspired her, how caring for her family makes her musical choices more personal, and how she re-oriented her teaching to learn and teach music of Black composers with her students.

The Western Michigan University Trustees have approved new contracts with the school’s faculty and part-time instructors after months of sometimes-contentious talks.

Demonstrators with signs line a sidewalk, in front of a grassy slope
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

A union representing landscapers, cooks, carpenters and other workers at Western Michigan University says its contract negotiations have stalled. Like faculty and part-time instructors earlier this summer, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees say they’ll rally in protest tomorrow on campus.

Eight people stand by the edge of a busy street, in front of some railroad tracks, with a brick building in the background. The demonstrators have handmade signs with messages supporting the PIO.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

After months of negotiation, the part-time instructors’ union at Western Michigan University has reached a deal on its next contract, though members still have to ratify it.