October is an exciting time in the life of a college student; the campus recently celebrated a successful and spirited homecoming weekend, fall is officially in full swing, and Halloween is just around the corner. October is a time to enjoy carving pumpkins, hot chocolate and frequenting the nearby haunted houses. But along with all these fun things that come during this season, we may have a possible crisis on our hands, and it is something that every student in West Chester University should be aware of.
Some students may have heard in passing from their professors and fellow students of a possible strike. This does not just affect West Chester University, but the entire system of 14 state-run universities in Pa. Nearby schools including Kutztown, Millersville, and East Stroudsburg could all be affected if the strike goes through.
On Saturday, delegates of the APSCUF (Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties) voted to authorize a strike, and the full membership across the state of Pennsylvania will vote at the end of November, including the faculty here at WCU. This does not necessarily mean a strike will happen, but it does give them the right to call for one if they feel the need to do so.
All of this stems from the issue that state faculty members have been working without a contract since the summer of 2011, approximately 15 months. Teachers and faculty are fighting to keep their benefits and their paychecks. PASSHE wants to reduce the salary of faculty without tenure by 35 percent, a completely ridiculous demand. APSCUF also claims that the state wants to hire many lower-paid and less qualified temporary faculty members, which would greatly diminish the quality of our education. The state system is placing demands that are unprecedented and they would adversely affect the teachers and students alike.
Although many believe the teachers and faculty should undoubtedly have these benefits, one cannot help but think how terribly a strike would impact students in state-run colleges across Pa. This could mean Saturday classes, and classes throughout Winter break to make up for missed class time. This affects our learning, our time, and most importantly our money that we are spending to attend college. Luckily, all of the faculties in state schools across Pa. are trying their hardest to avoid a strike, and claim that their main goal is to keep us in the classrooms.
This is not meant to scare people or to send a message of gloom and doom, because the strike very well may not happen, as it has never happened in the entire history of the organization. The union has authorized strikes three times in the past but agreements were met between PASSHE and APSCUF, and strikes within state schools were avoided. There is always the chance that something may occur and hopefully students are being informed about the issues happening within the university, and are prepared for any consequences that may come.
Kristin Fenchak is a second-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at KF763925@wcupa.edu.