Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friend, firebrand Jeff Lustig dies at 69

VALOIS, New York, USA - Early in my teaching career at CSU, Sacramento, I made the acquaintance of a firebrand five years my senior, a fellow named Jeff Lustig.

He was running an outfit called the Center for California Studies and was tangling assholes with then-CSUS president Donald Gerth. Jeff was feisty but fair and didn't believe in the academic nice-talk that generally required deference to presidents and top administrators.

If something was wrong, Jeff jumped on it with both feet. And then he jumped on it again and again and again until it was made right, or his feet hurt so much he couldn't move.
Jeff Lustig

His feet hurt a lot, but he brought about many positive changes and was an astute scholar.

When he was forced out of the Center for California Studies, the California Faculty Association (a faculty union) was the big winner. He took over the local chapter of the union as president and tore into the central CSU administration so effectively that he helped win substantial salary increases and betterment of working conditions for all faculty.

The chancellor of the CSU was afraid of Jeff - high praise because Chancellor Charles Reed (who is finally retiring this year) stared down governors and legislators alike.

In our last joint effort, Jeff helped the faculty at CSU, Sacramento in an attempt to censure the president of the campus whose priorities were more in the direction of public relations (and promoting his image) than academics.

I was president of the faculty senate that year and every time I felt my knees buckling under the pressure of the tumult, Jeff offered words of encouragement to keep fighting for what was right.

He will be missed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

No comments:

Post a Comment