After a first round yielding no progress, faculty negotiators remain frustrated but committed to reaching an agreement as they head into the second of three days of bargaining between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
“We continue to negotiate because we are committed to doing everything we can to reach an agreement,” APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash said. “We hope today will be the day the State System reaffirms its commitment to our students by finally dropping their proposals that degrade academic quality. We will not be complicit in the destruction of quality public higher education in Pennsylvania.”
Faculty continue to object to the State System’s intent to dramatically increase the number of temporary — or adjunct — faculty in lieu of permanent faculty.
“We have great temporary faculty who do an excellent job teaching our students,” Mash said. “But students must have faculty whose secure positions allow them to give students their full attention — and who will be at the university long-term to guide students into their futures.”
The State System last month withdrew its proposal to have new graduate students teach courses. However, the System continues to pursue other proposals that damage public higher education, Mash said. These proposals include transferring faculty into departments for which they have no expertise, discouraging faculty from doing research that they can bring into the classroom, and diluting the academic aspects of internship experiences.
“We believe our students and their families deserve full credit for speaking up and demanding that the System withdraw the proposal about graduate students,” Mash said. “We hope the System will side with students by withdrawing all of its proposals that diminish the quality of our universities.”
APSCUF will remain at the table, at a neutral location, after tomorrow’s scheduled session and until the strike deadline, as long as progress is being made, Mash said.
“But we will not stay at the table just so the State System can get publicity points,” he said. “We should all be focused on getting a deal this weekend.”
APSCUF faculty members will go on strike 5 a.m. Oct. 19 if the State System has not bargained a contract APSCUF believes is fair to students and members by that deadline.
The faculty contract expired June 30, 2015, and negotiations have been ongoing since late 2014.
APSCUF represents about 5,500 faculty and coaches at the State System universities: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.