In a Facebook Live press conference, Dr. Kenneth Mash, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), has stated a strike is still pending. Joined by Jamie Martin, vice president of APSCUF, and Chris Hallen, APSCUF treasurer, Mash announced that Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), represented by Chancellor Frank Brogan, has given APSCUF a final offer and since walked away from the negotiation table.
“They turned down our contract and gave us a document stating things like reducing sabbaticals and splitting off adjuncts, treating them like second class citizens,” said Mash. “We have been working around the clock to avoid a strike.”
Mash is hopeful that PASSHE will return to the bargaining table sometime tonight.
“If people start calling and telling the legislator’s office and the governor’s office, we hope they will come back to the table. By walking away from the table, they’re walking away from over 100,000 students,” stated Mash.
If a strike is called, it means all 14 state-owned universities will be affected, including West Chester University.
“We’ve sat in this room for many hours since Friday,” explained Martin. “We support you, we know that you support us.”
Governor Tom Wolf released a statement early Tuesday where he explained the need for PASSHE and APSCUF to continue negotiations.
“He has encouraged us to not leave until we had a deal,” Mash said. “This is not a show, we’re working in real time.”
Mash also took the time to thank the faculty and students of PASSHE for their support.
“Quality education means that students are working with qualified faculty, reasonable faculty-student ratios,” Mash affirmed. “We need our faculty, the students need our faculty.”
In a question asked by a viewer about December 2016 graduates, Mash remained optimistic that Brogan and PASSHE would come back to negotiate to avoid any interference with graduation dates.
“I don’t know what the motivation is, but I hope he puts aside his ego for the sake of our students.”
In the meantime, they said that they will remain at the table processing and reviewing PASSHE’s proposal.
Mash also said they will work to update the public on any updates via their Facebook, Twitter and their website.
When asked by a viewer if he thinks they will strike, Mash had this to say: “Again like I’ve said, I will either have a tentative agreement in my hands, or a picket sign in my hands.”
APSCUF will announce if a strike is being called or not by 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19 via their website and social media outlets.
Sunny Morgan is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at SM848270@wcupa.edu. Her Twitter is @SunnyMorgan97.