It has been approximately six hours since Shippensburg University’s first-ever strike began. Faculty, along with supporting students, have been picketing at the entrances of the SU campus since 5 a.m.
Around 11 a.m., there were about 10 faculty members picketing on an unusually warm, October day at the entrance off of Earl Street onto Lancaster Drive. Staff and students flooded the corner in front of the Shippensburg University sign with picket signs.
One of the signs read “Quality faculty = quality education.” Some also read “APSCUF won’t sacrifice quality, will you?”
A student was marching and picketing with the faculty in this area, with a sign that said, “I stand in solidarity with APSCUF.”
“I feel like there is a lot of positive support,” librarian liaison Kirk Moll said.
There have been people of the community as well as students of the campus driving around campus and on main roads, honking in support. There has also been a fair share of negative comments made from people driving by in their vehicles.
Students in support of the strike have brought goods and refreshments to those who are striking.
Employees from the One Bean Espresso Bar on King Street supplied pastries such as donuts and brewed coffee in boxes. In addition, students supplied snacks such as cookies and water.
The faculty are very appreciative of the generosity from the students who brought them refreshments, as well as those making signs and marching with them.
The strike has been contemplated several times in years past. “If you would have asked me a few months ago if this was going to happen, I would have said no,” Moll said.
“It’s not about my salary. It’s about having a supportive work environment that’s beneficial to everyone,” mathematics professor Ben Galluzzo said. “It’s a significant battle for public education and it is unacceptable to not have that be a priority.”
Jen Clements is a member of the social work department at SU.
She invited students from her Safe Club come out and march with faculty and hold picket signs.
“That means everything. They are the reason we are out here,” Clements said. “I chose to come here because I wanted to work with students at a public state institution and that was really important to me. When I’m with them in the classroom, I’m right there with them and I understand the challenges and I support them.”
The faculty reiterated that the purpose of the strike is for the students and their education.
Faculty’s predictions on how long the strike will last are unknown.
“This is a gateway to the future success,” Galluzzo said.
Faculty plan to stand strong picketing until an agreement is made with PASSHE.