WHAT IF?

State uni­ver­si­ties make plans to han­dle po­ten­tial strike

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @afarence on Twit­ter

With the threat of a po­ten­tial strike loom­ing over stu­dents in the Penn­syl­va­nia’s pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, many have ques­tioned what would hap­pen if ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tinue to stall and a strike does oc­cur.

“We’re hope­ful an agree­ment will come soon,” said West Ch­ester Univer­sity spokes­woman Nancy Gainer. “The univer­sity will re­main open if the fac­ulty union chooses to strike.”

Ac­cord­ing to Gainer, most of the con­se­quences of a strike would largely be de­ter­mined by the length of it.

If a strike does oc­cur and end up be­ing what the univer­sity termed a “pro­tracted strike,” stu­dents af­fected could po­ten­tially see changes to their billing if West Ch­ester Univer­sity can­not ful­fill obli­ga­tions set for­ward by the United States De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Gainer said.

How­ever, she re­it­er­ated sev­eral times that the univer­sity will make ev­ery ef­fort to ful­fill those obli­ga­tions, and stressed that a strike is still not yet cer­tain.

Ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity’s web­site, the De­cem­ber

grad­u­a­tion and the se­mes­ter could be ex­tended in the case of an ex­tended strike, and coun­sel­ing ser­vices for stu­dents might be re­ferred to other agen­cies avail­able in the area since the fac­ulty of­fer­ing those ser­vices might also be on strike.

Gainer said if some fac­ulty de­cide to con­tinue classes de­spite a strike, grad­ing for those classes will con­tinue as sched­uled.

West Ch­ester Univer­sity, along with other 13 uni­ver­si­ties in the state sys­tem,

are mak­ing sim­i­lar prepa­ra­tions if the state sys­tem of higher ed­u­ca­tion and the fac­ulty union can­not come to an agree­ment by Oct. 19 — the day the fac­ulty union des­ig­nated to strike.

Both the Penn­syl­va­nia State Sys­tem of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (PASSHE) and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia State Col­lege and Univer­sity Fac­ul­ties (APSCUF) have been ne­go­ti­at­ing for sev­eral months to reach an agree­ment with­out success.

“Each univer­sity has a strike con­tin­gency plan,” said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Mar­shall. “We’re at­tempt­ing to ne­go­ti­ate in

good faith.”

Mar­shall also said the state sys­tem has a FAQ page on its web­site per­tain­ing to the strike, and en­cour­aged fac­ulty and stu­dents to ex­am­ine them, as well as their pro­pos­als they have of­fered the union.

Like­wise, APSCUF of­fi­cials have also posted news re­leases and state­ments per­tain­ing to the state of ne­go­ti­a­tions and the im­pend­ing strike to their web­site as well.

Across the state sys­tem, APSCUF rep­re­sents ap­prox­i­mately 5,500 fac­ulty mem­bers. In ad­di­tion to West Ch­ester Univer­sity, Blooms­burg, Cal­i­for­nia,

Cheyney, Clar­ion, East Strouds­burg, Ed­in­boro, In­di­ana, Kutz­town, Lock Haven, Mans­field, Millersville, Ship­pens­burg, and Slip­pery Rock uni­ver­si­ties, are part of PASSHE.

If the union does go on strike, this will be the first one in the his­tory of PASSHE.

Both APSCUF and PASSHE of­fi­cials have re­peat­edly stated they are keep­ing stu­dents’ best in­ter­ests in mind. To con­tact Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Adam Farence, email afarence@ dailylocal.com, or call 610-235-2647.

ADAM FARENCE — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Pro­test­ers de­mand a con­tract from the Penn­syl­va­nia State Sys­tem of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion dur­ing a march on West Ch­ester Univer­sity’s cam­pus Sept. 7. If the union goes on strike, it will be the first in the state sys­tem’s his­tory.

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