Faculty strike at state universities appears imminent

Ray Hunter
October 20, 2016

Kenn Marshall says the state system is still assessing the impact of the strike, because it's not immediately clear how many faculty members will participate and how it will affect classes. The strike date of Wednesday, October 19 was set.

During a strike faculty will not be paid, and they will not perform any teaching, advising, or university related duties.

"We'd like to reassure our students that we did everything we possibly could to avoid a strike", APSCUF Vice President Jamie Martin said.

Led by SU student Shumeta Khan, the idea for a march began following several students' attendance at a strike information session, independent research and discussions with various faculty members. Attendance will not be taken if a faculty member is not available.

"Junior Sydney Treiman flipped on the lights in Room 303, the usual site of her 8 a.m. business writing class, sat by herself for about 10 minutes, and then left".

The looming question is how students will be affected by a prolonged strike.

"These are hard times for our universities, administration spokesman Kenn Marshall said". Students have been told that classes and university services would stay open but have not been given specific details, which makes the situation somewhat worrisome. While President Norton recently said at an SGA meeting that tuition would be reimbursed, the process through which this is done could be complex, making it a hassle for students. Everyone's costs are going up, while many have seen their benefits decline. It may result in some students being able to complete some or all classes within the regular semester, while others may not.

Striking faculty will not be replaced by graduate students or other substitutes, Prabhu said. Faculty union members previously authorized a strike.

At West Chester University, outside Philadelphia, dozens of professors, students and supporters marched outside the school.

Victoria Tischio, a full-time tenured English professor and the university's picket chair, said some 500 of the university's about 950 professors had signed up for the walkout.

The average full-time faculty member made almost $100,000 past year, according to PASSHE. I just got here. "That's my main concern: what happens if it goes on a long time."Beatty feels that Kutztown could have done a better job on informing students on class schedules should there be a strike".

"I don't know that we have far to go", Gill added.

The faculty started picketing this morning around the boundaries of the IUP campus. "They're out here for us and I believe we should be out here from them as well". The union's representatives for negotiations remained at the table on the chance the system would resume negotiations. "We need to modernize some areas of this decades-old contract so that we can ensure a high-quality experience that is relevant for the 21st century needs of our students".

Millersville says all scheduled sports events will take place and dining halls, residence halls and so on will operate normally.

"The shortsightedness on both sides is counter to my efforts on behalf of the system and hurts the dedicated professors and university staff, and students and their families who are paying tuition to these universities", Wolf said. The union rejected the System's offer to provide raises to all permanent and temporary faculty and the identical healthcare package that other System employees have.

Earlier on Tuesday, Gov. Tom Wolf encouraged the teams to continue negotiations until a contract is reached.

"While the two sides made significant progress in the talks that began October 14, including reaching tentative agreements on more than a dozen issues ... they were not able to reach overall agreement", the PASSHE website reads.

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