As Wright State University faculty union members walked the picket line again Thursday, students took a different approach to protesting and staged a sit-in outside President Cheryl Schrader’s office in University Hall.
UPDATE @ 7:22 p.m.: The refund period for full-term classes has been extended to 5 p.m., Feb. 1, and the late registration fee will be waived to assist students if class schedule changes are necessary, Provost Susan Edwards said in a prepared statement issued late Thursday afternoon.
Participating in the sit-in were 17 students meant to represent a union talking point that faculty only make up 17 percent of the university’s budget. The university needs to rebuild the trust of students and faculty, said Emma Mills, a WSU senior who helped to organize the sit-in.
“What has been going on at this university since the strike began has been harming students, and it needs to come to an end,” said WSU senior Christine Wright.
The sit-in was one of many activities planned by students in recent days to address the ongoing faculty union strike. Students have also hosted marches from the center of campus to picket lines and have occasionally delivered food to faculty protesters.
Members of the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors have been on strike for three days now. Union members began picketing near the entrances to campus and the Nutter Center on Tuesday.
Classes have continued at the university during the strike, though some have been consolidated, moved online or taught by a substitute. President Cheryl Schrader, an engineer, has also returned to the classroom to teach too courses.
On Tuesday, it came to light that some classes were given “alternate assignments” or dismissed when faculty didn’t show up.
Around 43 percent of the 560 members of the Wright State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors have continued teaching during the strike, according to WSU. Classes offered in Wright State’s School of Professional Psychology and the Boonshoft School of Medicine were unaffected by the strike because they have no unionized faculty.
Wright State University’s board of trustees will meet in private Friday to discuss collective bargaining, the issue at the heart of a labor dispute that has led to a faculty union strike.
The WSU board will meet in executive session at 2 p.m. Friday in the Wright Brothers Room of the student union. Collective bargaining is the sole item listed on the agenda for the meeting.
During the meeting, the board will receive an update from Schrader and the administration’s negotiating team on where things stand, said board chairman Doug Fecher.
“It’s not a bad sign,” Fecher said of the meeting. “It’s for us to basically asses where we’re at and what we need to do to get this resolved.”
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