The Slippery Rock Student Government Association (SGA) hosted President Cheryl Norton and SRU APSCUF President Dr. Ben Shaevitz at their meeting on Monday, which allowed students to ask questions about the potential strike date on Oct. 19.
The contract negotiations between the state system and APSCUF have lasted 15 months, and several impasses have allowed for this to go as long as it has. The discussion and negotiations will continue Friday thru Monday, with the hope of a contract negotiation getting accomplished before the Oct. 19 strike date, Shaevitz said. There have been no discussions on being at the table on Tuesday, although it is possible for that to happen, Shaevitz said.
“If no deal is reached by 5:30 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 19, then a strike of the faculty will occur,” Shaevitz said. “We are hoping for a determination to be made around that time so students can be informed of this. For no strike to happen, we would need to be close to an agreement with the state system for it to be on hold.”
The communication between the faculty and the union has remained open to try and allow for the negotiations to remain away from campus, Norton said. Each member of the faculty has a respected role on campus, whether it be in their department or in the classroom to the students, Norton said.
“We are, of course, concerned about what happens in the rear view mirror once this passes us by,” Norton said. “The faculty will do what’s needed to ensure we keep moving forward, and that this school remains a great place to attend. We had roughly 240-some issues which were not being agreed upon, and some that were more important than others.”
The students here at SRU had some concerns and issues that needed to be addressed, so the communication between the faculty and student body remained strong. First, the buildings on campus will not be closed. This includes the ARC, Bailey Library, Student Center, Health Center and classroom buildings, just to name a few, Norton said. Any students who work on campus should just go to work and not worry about their jobs, Norton said.
If the strike does occur, the faculty does not know how long it will occur, but hopes to get everything resolved as quickly as possible, Shaevitz said.
“I fully expect full participation from the faculty to strike,” Shaevitz said. “Of course some faculty members may not strike, and that is completely up to them. The main thing we want you all to know is classes will be completed no matter what, and seniors will graduate on time and walk come December.”
The question about tuition money and whether it would be refunded by the university in the case of a prolonged strike was addressed, and Dr.Norton assured it would be. In the case of strike going that long, classes would need to be made up, and whether it be on Friday nights or weekends, the semester will finish, Norton said. This is a difficult time for everyone involved, and the support has been great, Norton said.
“This isn’t an easy time for any of us, but sometimes you work through the issues you’re involved in.” Norton said.
After the conclusion of the strike discussion, SGA approved four requests for funding and the addition of a new club to campus.
The Music Therapy Club was approved $1,941.50 to travel to their National Conference in Sandusky, Ohio.
Queens was approved $500 for funding, guest speakers and to collaborate with the Kings organization for a homecoming event. The hope and goal is to get minority students more involved on campus this year, a organization member said.
The Arabic Club was approved $300 for performance fees for a dancer they will bring to campus, as well as a henna tattoo artist.
Additionally, the Pre-Service Teachers of Mathematics Club was approved $300 to attend their yearly conference.
SGA also recognized Geek Life as a new club on campus. The drive behind this was to make a club which could encompass everyone into one group with a passion for all things geek, a club representative said.
Finally, SGA would fill their senate seats by electing 11 new senators. The diversity of academic years and experience is something SGA President Logan Steigerwalt is excited to see brought to SGA.
The next SGA meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 8:45 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Theater.