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November 17, 2004

Editorial: ASU should know when to fold 'em

From: Web Devil - USA - Nov 17, 2004

There may never be a Poker 101 class, but lesson No. 1 would certainly be never to chase an inside straight.

Lesson No. 2: If you can't beat what you see, don't call the bet.

Maybe if there were such a class, ASU would have been better equipped to handle the interpreter strike this week. The University played its hand terribly.

Let's cover what ASU could see.

The interpreters gave ASU a two-week warning of its walkout Monday. Their demand, more money, was simple and their threat of a strike certainly should have garnered the University's attention.

The walkout was also a clear problem for deaf students on campus. No interpreters meant no education for these students.

ASU was playing a numbers game and, apparently, had been doing so for some time. The conflict over interpreter wages is supposedly not a two-week-old affair.

To wait this long was a terrible idea.

It's interesting to us that ASU didn't act sooner on this matter. Administration knew about the wage dispute for a minimum of two weeks before the walkout but scheduled a meeting for the day after the scheduled strike.

Why wasn't the meeting scheduled the day after the threat of a walkout? Scheduling conflicts of administration personnel isn't a valid excuse for us. It might have held more water if the victims in this dispute were only the interpreters or the University's bottom line.

But the true victims were students. Deaf students were wronged ... no ... shafted, and we blame ASU.

Why did this dispute come to a strike? If ASU knew a strike was inevitable, why weren't temporary interpreters in place Monday to serve students?

If ASU was willing to give interpreters a pay raise, why wasn't a deal reached to avoid a walkout but keep a budget meeting planned.

Simply put, the University should have made the first move. By putting dollars before the needs of students, it proved what (not who) is really important to ASU.

We think the only reason the interpreters would have called off the strike would have been because of the students. The interpreters work very closely with deaf students and have, through letters to the editor, stressed their dedication to students.

The fact that this dedication was stretched to the point of a walkout should have been a signal to ASU that the interpreters were serious.

It comes down to a poker hand. ASU had nothing on its side, yet thought the threat of a walkout was a bluff. It called the bet, and the interpreters dropped down a royal flush.

Hopefully, ASU learned its lesson. We can only hope the interpreters were the only group on campus being ignored. If the University had acted quickly, it could have solved a problem, helped students and avoided some bad publicity all at the same time.

Gambling with students' education on the line was a bad idea. After this ordeal, maybe a Poker 101 class isn't such a bad idea.

Kenny Rogers would have solved this problem weeks ago.

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