As many Wright State University professors walked out of the classroom and onto the picket line, university officials say nearly half of those represented by the union on strike are teaching or will teach their classes.
Hundreds of members and supporters of the American Association of University Professors at Wright State University were on the picket line Tuesday for the first day of the strike.
“They’re out here shouting at 6:00 in the dark and the cold, so I don’t think it’s going to dissipate anytime soon,” said Noeleen McIlvenna, history professor and union officer.
But the university claims on Day 1 of the strike, not everyone in the union walked out of the classroom. According to a survey of classes and union professors conducted by Wright State University officials, on the main campus, about 40 percent of faculty members represented by the union are teaching or will teach their classes. On the Lake Campus, that number is up to 53 percent, officials said.
McIlvenna said she knew of two faculty members in the union still teaching and admitted there could be more, but she argues the union remains strong.
“Most of the class coverage was by adjuncts,” she said. “Many of them were strangers.”
Cheryl Schrader, president of Wright State University, released a statement Tuesday, saying, in part: “I want to thank the faculty members who were in the classroom today despite some of their colleagues choosing not to work. We value all of our faculty and look forward to operating with our full complement of faculty members.”
But some students told 2 NEWS they showed up to classes Tuesday without a professor.
“They came in, they collected signatures for attendance, and then they pretty much told us that we’ll try again tomorrow, that they didn’t have a professor to teach, and to pretty much go home,” said Austyn Buchanan, a junior.
According to university officials, about 80 percent of classes taught by AAUP-WSU faculty on the Main Campus and 99 percent of classes on the Lake Campus were held without issue. The university is working to get all remaining issues resolved, according to the statement released Tuesday.
Meanwhile, McIlvenna argues having classes covered by substitute teachers isn’t the same.
“Coverage does not mean education,” she said. “They’re using the term to describe if anybody showed up to take attendance, or tell student to read this syllabus or read a book.”
The university also said in its statement that it was “clear” students followed the administration’s orders to go to class, but officials did not provide any attendance numbers for Tuesday.
Demonstrations are set to resume Wednesday morning.