This is an open letter to the students of Clarion University:
We write this letter to publicly say ‘thank you’ to all the students who supported the faculty in our labor dispute with the State System of Higher Education. During our strike, well over 100 of you participated in a number of demonstrations and sit-ins on our behalf.
A large number of you came out to march with us on the picket lines, or to bring cold water on Wednesday and Thursday, and hot coffee on Friday. Many of you brought cookies, brownies, or just words of thanks and support both for us and for what we were trying to accomplish.
We know that not all of you were behind the faculty; you were placed in a very difficult position. In a normal work action, the dispute is limited to employees and management. At a university, however, students are caught in the middle. We know many of you were upset because the strike occurred in the middle of the semester.
Senior graduation plans and employment could have been disrupted. Some of you asked, “Why not strike at the beginning of the semester, or at the end?” The State System hoped you would see the difficulties our strike caused you, and that you would pressure APSCUF to settle quickly. We hoped you could take a longer view and see the longer-term benefits associated with striking.
We have said that our main issues in this labor dispute consisted of issues of quality of education. We know some of you might have heard this as merely a line.
However, this insistence on quality really was the central thing we were fighting for. We are very proud to say that the vast majority of faculty work very hard to make your education the very best that they know how.
In reaching our tentative agreement with the System, we accepted a much lower pay increase than that given to other unions in the State System (clerical, maintenance, and others) in order to encourage the State System to give up on their proposals, and to preserve the quality of education we (and you) cherish.
The main point we wish to make is that we are tremendously proud of—and grateful to—the students at Clarion University.
So many of you showed such generosity that our hearts overflow. Faculty who teach composition cringe when writers use ‘literally’ incorrectly. In this case we use it quite correctly: it is literally the case that we could not have won this strike without your support.
The State System completely misread the reaction of the vast majority of you. You, the students of Clarion, marched with us. You conducted your own protests and sit-in. The marching band and baseball team came out for us.
Students in the other State System schools organized protests, took buses to Harrisburg, chanted things like “talk at the table, not to the media,” and generally made it very clear that many, many students supported us in this strike. For all of your support, we really are eternally grateful.
Paul Woodburne, Economics; Bill Adams, Communication; Simon Aristeguieta-Trillos, Library Science; Donna Ashcraft, Psychology; Yassar Ayad, Geology; Bill Buchanan, Library Science; Mary Buchanan, University Libraries; Myra Bullington, Theatre; Rob Bullington, Theatre; Leah Chambers, JLTLA; Dan Clark, Chemistry; Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff, Art; Amy Conner Love, Special Education and Disability Policy Studies; Joseph Croskey, University Advising Services; Melissa Downes, English; John Eichlin, Finance; Nancy Falvo, Nursing; Ellen Foster, English; Lacey Fulton, Communication; Helen Hampikian, Biology; Chris Harancher, Allied Health; Nancie Hunter, Venango, JLTLA; Janina Jolley, Psychology; Cristin Ketley, Special Education and Disability Policy Studies; Soo Kim, Computer Information Science; Young Kim, Special Education and Disability Policy Studies; Jacqueline Knaust, Chemistry; Janet Knepper, English; Myrna Kuehn, Communication; Scott Kuehn, Communication; Rich Lane, English; Eric Lewis, Chemistry; Bob Levy, Theatre; Linda Lillard, Library Science; Andy Lingwall, Communication; Amanda Lockwood, Chemistry; Herb Luthin, English; Jim Lyle, Communication; Chris McCarrick, English; Marcella McConnell, Mathematics and Education; Mike McConnell, Mathematics; John McCullough, Education; Kathleen McIntyre, History; Mark Mitchell, Psychology; Richard Nicholls, Psychology; Bell O’Neil, Communication; Joyce Overly, Chemistry; Jamie Phillips, Philosophy; Randy Potter, Psychology; Susan Prezzano, Anthropology; Mary Jo Reef, Sociology; Brent Register, Music; Adam Roberts, Mathematics; Jim Rose, Art; Tom Rourke, Political Science; Deborah Sarbin, English; Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan, Modern Languages; Dave Schlueter, Psychology; Craig Scott, Biology; Amy Shannonhouse, Education; Renae R. Shawgo, JLTLA; Frank Shepard, Finance; Dan Shifflet, Mathematics; Jeanne Slattery, Psychology; Juanita Smart, English; Doug Smith, Biology; Barry Sweet, Political Science; Lorie Taylor, Special Education and Disability Policy Studies; Philip Terman, English; Casey Teske, Music; Jonathon Touster, Chemistry; Jane Walsh, Sociology; Tony Vega, Geology; Kevan Yenerall, Political Science.