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Wright State faculty on strike until further notice

Wright State faculty union members protest on campus. SOHAM PARIKH/STAFF

FAIRBORN, OH – On Tuesday morning, Wright State’s faculty union took to various locations across campus to strike against university administration.

Protesters convened at 8 a.m., holding picket signs reading “On Strike for Wright” and “#fightingforwright.”

Protesting faculty members will not complete work for the university while on strike, according to Rudy Fichtenbaum, chief negotiator for AAUP-WSU. They will also lose access to online tools such as their university emails and Pilot, Wright State’s online learning management system.

Not all union members have chosen to go on strike, according to Seth Bauguess, Director of Communications at Wright State. About one third have told the university that they will continue teaching.

The university claims that there are about 1,700 faculty members at Wright State, 560 of which belong to the faculty union.

While some teachers are not working, their classes will be covered by substitutes, according to a statement from Susan Edwards, executive vice president for academic affairs and university provost. They will have the authority to take attendance, give assignments, and issue quizzes and tests.

Wright State will continue to operate under normal business hours during the strike, according to a statement from the Office of Communications. Administration has instructed students to continue attending class but have not responded to today’s strike at this time.

“Although the union has the right to call a strike, it is disappointing,” University President Cheryl Schrader previously said. “The actions of one-sixth of our employees will not alter our mission as an institution of higher learning. And, their actions most certainly do not change our contractual and ethical obligations to our students.”

It is not clear how long the strike will last, according to Fichtenbaum. “That is totally up to the administration,” he said. “We have asked repeatedly to go to the negotiating table and they have refused.”

AAUP-WSU President Martin Kich said the union has expressed its willingness to renegotiate their current contract, but has not received a response from administration. Administration has said that negotiations on faculty’s current contract cannot resume.

“All negotiations for the contact that expired in 2017 ended once we reached impasse and exhausted all statutory processes,” Schrader said. “Our trustees enacted new terms and conditions to break the impasse.”

Faculty union members say they aim to urge administers to renegotiate contract language and protect the quality of education.

“We really felt that this was important for us to take a stand here for the quality of education,” said Fichtenbaum. “This is really about the future of Wright State University.”

Laura Luehrmann, professor of Political Science, said that the union hopes to protect education and urge administration to resume negotiations on their current contracts.

“We are out here for your education,” Luehrmann said. “We have all dedicated our lives to providing the best education possible to our students and right now, we just can’t get anywhere. We can’t even get the administration to the table to try to negotiate a fair contract.”

The union was joined by students who also marched across campus to show support.

“We are here to support our faculty to show them that we appreciate them,” said Brooke Griffin, a WSU student. “They have given us so much and to be treated unfairly by the administration really upsets us.”

Student Kristen Wagers said that instructors are not replaceable. “They have years and years of experience. They have been here to support us all these years, so why not support them?”

The group of student marchers also included Wright State Alumni. Christine Wright, a graduate, was among them. “It kills me to see administration treat faculty in this manner,” she said.

Griffin said that she intends to protest alongside faculty for as long as she needs to. “Nobody wants to strike, but we are going to show them support as much as we can,” Griffin said.




Lucas Gonzalez

Former News Editor

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