As Strike Continues, So Do Concerns
While the strike may have been filled with fun and games in the beginning, Bloomsburg University students are now having some growing concerns about their educations, teachers, and more. The strike began two days ago on Oct. 19 and began at about 5 a.m. that morning after the faculty union, APSCUF, and the state system, PASSHE, were unable to reach an agreement regarding the new contract.
Some of the main issues that are regarding the strike have to do with professor’s salaries. According to USA Today, the state was able to withdraw proposals regarding faculty members to teach more than the average four classes, increase the number of temporary faculty, and have graduate students teach classes. As of now the main concerns seem to be about professor’s salaries not being high enough and the cost of health care. The strike is affecting 14 different Pennsylvania colleges including Bloomsburg University, California University of Pennsylvania, Cheyney University, Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown University, Lock Haven University, Mansfield University, Millersville University, Shippensburg University, Slippery Rock University, and West Chester University.
Many Bloomsburg students’ classes are not being held. While there are still around 20 or 30 teachers—a rough estimate—still possibly teaching, that is a small percentage of the approximate 400 professors at the school. Students are getting anxious, nervous, aggravated, and bored with the strike. Sophomore Emily Mansilla stated she has “concerns when we come back about pace of class. I don’t want to rush through stuff.” Student Laura Josuweit added that she believes “more than 3 days [of the strike] will be a mess.”
Freshmen Alison McKay told BUnow that she wanted to know, “how long is it going to last? That is what I am concerned about.”
Some students are not only fearing for their classes, but also their housing. Brooke Vanim, a junior at Bloomsburg University, said she was worried about getting kicked out of her apartment: “I don’t want to get kicked out of my apartment, and I don’t want to go home.”
Sophomore, Monica DeLora had this to say when asked about her opinion on strike and if she had any concerns: “I think the professors have every right to strike, but I am worried about my education. They definitely need to work towards a solution not only for the professors but also the students.”
While most Bloomsburg students seem to be upset about the strike, at least a handful of students are entirely behind the strike and are okay with risking a few class days if the teachers can be treated fairly. Bloomsburg student Nick Garisto said, “I’m glad it is happening. If I have to sacrifice a week of education to get professors what they deserve I’m okay with that.”
Some students are not only voicing their support through their opinions, but are going down to the picket lines with the faculty. Outside of Carver Hall, faculty are marching, holding signs and even having musical accompaniments of drums and horns. When asked why he was here today, Frank Bucco, a senior at Bloomsburg University, had this to say: “Because I feel our professors deserve more and want to be able to finish semester, and it ultimately affects students, most especially seniors like myself who want to graduate in May.” Freshmen Vanessa Yonkin, whom was seated on the stairs just steps away from the picket line, stated “We support it and we want equality for all teachers.”
Professors like Joseph Tloczynski, who teaches in the Psychology department, were seated outside of Carver Hall holding signs and hoping that this course of action will help the state and union be able to come to a conclusion that is best for everyone. When asked what he would like to say to student body, Tloczynski said “basically the state needs to get back to negotiating.” Tlocyznski also stated that there were people whom were part of the union in Harrisburg protesting as well and whom have hope for them [the state] to negotiate.
As of right now, there is no further information regarding the state and faculty union negotiations or any indication of when the strike will be over.