The sights at Carver Hall yesterday and today have been almost parallel. Faculty are marching in front of the well-known BU building, and students are sitting on the steps supporting them. Watching the support that the students are giving BU faculty is incredible. However, some may ask what their motivation is for supporting the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
After interviewing students wielding picket signs at Carver, the reason they were all there was unanimous. “We are here to support the teachers.” Some said that the faculty sacrifice their time to be at the university after hours, and that the faculty members were like family.
This is a good thing right? Students are supporting their educators and their right to a fair contract. Without good professors, students wouldn’t be getting a quality education. But that is exactly what is happening as the strike goes on. Faculty are striking and students are suffering.
That is not to say that the faculty want to strike. Interviews with striking faculty have also shown that almost none of them want to be striking. 5,500 faculty throughout the 14 state universities are relying on APSCUF President Dr. Ken Mash and a small executive board to make a decision on whether PASSHE has given them a good enough contract. None of the striking professors have a vote as to whether they want to accept a contract from PASSHE.
Much of the disgust from students has been directed toward PASSHE and its Chancellor, Frank Brogan. Students and faculty are angry that PASSHE left the negotiating table on Wednesday, Oct. 18 and have yet to return. But have students considered that the state system does not have the funds to continue negotiating? Unless PASSHE bargains the state for more money, they only have a certain amount of funds at their disposal. This basically means that either the students will be paying more for tuition, or the faculty will have to settle for a lower salary. This is also the reason why PASSHE is negotiating for more adjunct faculty, they don’t get paid as much as full, tenured professors.
One phrase that has been said quite a bit the last few days is that by refusing to negotiate further, PASSHE is “devaluing our education.” At what point is APSCUF the one devaluing our education by not accepting a contract?
At any rate, students can support whomever they choose. In the end, it is a matter of whether or not APSCUF President Ken Mash and his executive board accept a contract offer from PASSHE.
But students, before making a decision on who to support, do your research. Ask questions and become informed on the real issues pertaining to the strike. Don’t just listen to what your friends are saying, and don’t be blind followers. Not being informed is like playing a game of Telephone – at the end, the message is never the same as it was in the beginning.
You can find out more about PASSHE and APSCUF and what they stand for by visiting their websites, and keep up with negotiations by looking at bloomu.edu/negotiations. You can also follow PASSHE and APSCUF on their social media accounts.
In the meantime, continue to follow BUnow.com for the latest on the #BloomUstrike.