Faculty, students take to street in first day of strike
As picketers leave their post and some students go out for another night of partying, there seems to be no end in sight for the first strike in the state system’s history.
APSCUF did not accept the proposal PASSHE left union leaders with late last night. PASSHE did not return to the negotiating table. At 5 a.m., word trickled down union ranks that the strike was a-go. Picket lines assembled across the state within minutes.
Students awoke to find classrooms and offices empty of professors. Some could hear the chanting of faculty from their residence halls.
By 8 a.m. students were joining picket lines at Shippensburg University and at the 13 other PASSHE schools. Students at several universities held rallies and marches around mid-day to show solidarity with their professors.
SU students marched from the Ceddia Union Building (CUB) through campus to the faculty picket line on North Prince Street. Students later marched into SU President George “Jody” Harpster’s office.
SU students later met with Harpster in the CUB multipurpose room for a question and answer session. Harpster said there are many questions he has no answer to.
Millersville University students formed a crowd at about 10 a.m. near the library off North George Street, which swelled to more than 100 people by 11 a.m. Brass instruments blared, students danced and faculty marched at the picket lines while police officers directed congested streets.
Faculty and students rally at a picket line along North George Street at Millersville University.
MU senior Kelsey Fulton and her classmates set up a table for passersby to make their own signs. She said she hopes the strike does not affect her ability to graduate, but fully supports what the faculty are doing.
“College is nothing without faculty,” she said.
Bloomsburg University (BU) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) had similar displays of solidarity, with student rallies and marching bands. BU’s Carver Hall, the university’s administrative building, was occupied with dozens of students waving homemade signs.
IUP students joined picket lines in droves and officers removed some musicians from the Oak Grove.
More than one dozen APSCUF staffers and faculty members maintained a picket line at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, which houses PASSHE’s administrative headquarters. The group was made up of professors from several universities, including SU.
“I’m very sad,” said Vicki Taylor, SU professor of management, marketing and entrepreneurship. “To think such intelligent people can’t reach an agreement is disheartening.”
APSCUF will not accept PASSHE’s latest proposal without further revisions, said Kara Laskowski, APSCUF SU’s chapter president.
Day No. 2 of the strike will kick off with picket lines starting at about 7 a.m. and running until about 7 p.m. There are currently no plans for the two sides to start negotiating again.
The strike, while unfortunate, shows that faculty solidarity is strong, Laskowski said.
APSCUF SU spokesperson Kim Garris said she does not know of any SU faculty members that will cross picket lines.
Though classrooms were reported vacant of faculty across campus today, the administration expects students to go to class.
If you know of professors holding classes, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Wright, News Editor/The Voice of BU and Alexandria Mansfield, News Editor/The Penn of IUP contributed to this article.