The students of the theatre department are standing by their faculty members during the APSCUF strike and choosing not to perform the last two nights of their show ‘December Things’ without their writer and director.
After the strike was finalized, the theatre department decided as a whole not to finish their play if their faculty members who helped in the making of it could not attend.
The students involved in the production met without faculty present and shared their opinions on the matter as a whole. The students in the production decided to not go on if the faculty was striking.
The faculty in the theatre department did not give their opinion if they wanted students to continue with the show or not, said senior theatre-acting major Tyler Hahn. He feels that this is extremely important because the faculty’s opinion had nothing to do with the decision made. The decision was made by the students involved in the production.
Hahn said that the entire cast, production crew and department would like to see this show through to the end.
The students involved knew that they would not have been able to accomplish this show without the countless hours, sleepless nights and creative vision that the faculty involved had contributed to this process, Hahn explained.
“This piece of art does not exist without the faculty in our department,” Hahn said.
Hahn said the faculty needs the student body behind them because the faculty at our university is extremely passionate about what they do.
Students choose Slippery Rock University for many reasons, but they stay around for the incredibly devoted and passionate faculty, Hahn said.
Professor and director of ‘December Things,’ Laura Smiley, and professor and playwright, Deanna Brookens, are striking and the department honors the faculty’s stance and their commitment by standing alongside them, said senior theatre-acting major Cole Vecchio.
“This show is special to so many people, myself included, but it means so much to our director and playwright that they should also see this through to the end just like us,” Vecchio said.
Vecchio explained that the strike is affecting the theatre department, Smiley and Brookens because they are not with the students watching them grow and guiding them through this show’s journey.
Vecchio said he knows this is why the faculty is here every day teaching classes and staying late running rehearsals, to make sure their students get the best artistic and educational experience they can from this show.
“Having worked closely with all the professors in the theatre department, I can tell you that they care about us and our education,” Vecchio said.
Senior theatre-acting major Phillip Bova said that the faculty is integral in assisting this production to continue, and without them they wouldn’t have a show.
Bova said he fully supports the cast’s decision by standing with their faculty because when the students needed them to, the faculty stood with them.
They encouraged them and believed in them even when the students sometimes didn’t, and that is something many of the students will never fully be able to do, Bova said.
Bova believes that the faculty leads, inspires and encourages students and without them, students would not have any of that. The department is a family and being separated is not something that they ever want, Bova said.
“Continuing to bring to life their direction and words and story without them there would be, to put it bluntly, insulting,” Vecchio said.
Hahn said he hopes the student body and university administration understand that students are trying to make the statement that our faculty is needed. He feels that the faculty deserves a fair and reasonable contract.
“We as a university, a community, a state and a nation have to value the treatment of our educators,” Hahn said. “These professors are the people shaping the professionals of tomorrow and without quality care and treatment of our professors, we as students will not receive a quality education.”
All ticket sales will be refunded to anyone who bought tickets for Wednesday and Thursday nights’ cancelled shows of ‘December Things.’