Wright State Students Divided, Frustrated As Faculty Strike Enters Third Week
Wright State University’s faculty union resumed picketing this week after weekend negotiations failed to reach a deal. The strike has so far lasted more than two weeks with no word yet on when contract negotiations could resume.
Despite reassurances from Wright State administration officials, who maintain they're working to minimize disruptions on campus, many Wright State students are reporting frustration over disruptions to their classes.
To learn more about students’ concerns, WYSO’s April Laissle spoke with Sarah Cavender, editor in chief of the Wright State Guardian student newspaper.
April Laissle: Can you tell me what the mood has been like on campus since the strike began? How are students feeling about it?
Sarah Cavendar: I think embarrassment and frustration and almost sadness is the way to put it. The morale is definitely down.
April Laissle: And we know that some students have come out in support of the union. Others have been in support of the administration. Are more students taking sides in this matter or are students kind of feeling like they're caught in the middle?
Sarah Cavendar: That was what I heard reiterated by so many students, I am caught between parents who are going through a divorce. They're mad at each other, they're fighting and they're pulling me from one side to the other. There's just so much frustration and there's so much divide. As the editor I came out with a letter from the editor and my biggest fear was a divide in the student population, and that is very, very prevalent and people are attacking each other verbally on social media.
April Laissle: And how are classes being affected at this point?
Sarah Cavendar: There are still many classes who do not have instructors. Unfortunately we've gotten so many complaints and so many words of frustration from people and multiple multiple programs and different majors, saying that I don't even have classes throughout the week, or I'm limited to a few classes. Like, I go in, they take my attendance and I leave.
April Laissle: And have you heard of some classes being canceled altogether?
Sarah Cavendar: There are classes that are canceled for X amount of time throughout the week. There are classes that are canceled like for the rest of the semester or until someone can be put in. It just varies. We've been consistently reassured that graduation will not be affected, that it will still happen. As far as the core requirements for graduation that some students need to get through the semester, it's still something we look into and we haven't heard anything otherwise. So we're expecting that the university's administration is going to follow through with what they said, and that students will still be able to [graduate].
April Laissle: Are students still trusting the administration at this point?
Sarah Cavendar: There is a huge distrust, not just from the administration but also in the teachers and it's so strange to sit there and hear students say, I don't know what to do, I don't know who to trust.
April Laissle: I've seen on social media that students are saying they feel like they're not getting their money's worth. Is that a concern that you've heard echoed on campus?
Sarah Cavendar: For sure. I mean, when you go into an institution, you pay for it, you're expecting to get what you pay for. Whenever you go into this and your professor is not there and you don't have the guaranteed professor that they said was going to be there, you start to lose the dollar value and you start to lose the dollar value in your education, in your degree, because that's what it's all about -- you're paying to get a degree and you're paying to get the experience. If you don't have the professor there and you don't have the education there, you're not getting what you pay for.
April Laissle: Would you say that students are still holding out hope that a resolution can be reached soon?
Sarah Cavendar: Oh, for sure. And, there also is the united hope that this will be over, that this has to end, that our professors will come back in the classroom, that everything will work out. It's just the morale. The morale is really down. And the biggest question is, what's going to happen afterward. Copyright 2019 WYSO. To see more, visit WYSO.