Faculty may not be the only ones protesting Wednesday. Students across the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) are planning a day of action to show their support for faculty.
The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) said it will strike starting Wednesday, if a contract is not agreed on. Groups of students across PASSHE are organizing various forms of protest for the same day.
Shippensburg University sophomore Shumeta Khan and six other SU students were inspired to take action after the Oct. 12 informational meeting for students, hosted by SU’s chapter of APSCUF. They met to formulate a plan and get more students on board.
“It was just a bunch of us getting together who cared,” Khan said.
Khan and her group’s plan is for students to walk out of their classrooms on Wednesday at noon, if there’s a strike, and meet at the Ceddia Union Building amphitheater. Once there, students will march through campus holding signs and a banner, chanting their support, according to Khan.
The group plans to end its march in front of Old Main. Khan said they are debating whether to have speakers at the end of the march.
Student activists have an ally in James Cersonsky, director of the Pennsylvania Student Power Network.
“It’s all of our goals to have the students’ voices heard,” Cersonsky said.
The Network strives to provide resources to students who want to be engaged in social justice, according to Cersonsky. He met with SU students who reached out to him on Oct. 13 about planning a day of action. Khan said the group presented their ideas at a meeting with Cersonsky, who offered advice.
Students at other PASSHE schools are planning sit-ins and different forms of protest based on their needs, according to Cersonsky.
Instead of relaxing during fall break, Khan spent her time making posters, hanging fliers and spreading word of the event on social media.
“Ship is my home and the faculty are like my parents,” Khan said.
Khan believes the faculty is fighting for issues that will benefit the quality of education. As she has worked to raise awareness about the contract negotiations, she found that the students who did not want to protest were usually the least informed. Khan said she is trying to explain to students exactly what APSCUF and the state system are debating, such as online education, healthcare and adjunct faculty hours.
“A lot of people say it’s not our fight,” Khan said, “But it is.”
Students can visit bit.ly/shipstudentwalkout to join the Facebook event page for SU.