FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – Students describe empty classrooms, little communication from the university, and uncertainty about what’s next after Day 1 of the faculty union strike at Wright State University. 1 in 5 classes taught by union members at the main campus did not have an instructor present.
Students say they were promised instructors, they’re paying thousands of dollars for instructors, but on Tuesday many did not get those instructors.
Junior Austyn Buchanan says, “They came in, collected signatures for attendance, then told us they’d try again tomorrow, that they didn’t have a professor to teach, and to pretty much go home.”
Elyse Angel is one of the organizers of the student-run group Students for Faculty. She says, “I was promised there would be a fill-in instructor, and there was not.” That was the start of a confusing day for many students. Angel says, “The person who came to take attendance couldn’t tell me if there would be an instructor there on Thursday.”
Ryan Johnson is transferring away from Wright State, in part because of the financial crisis. He made the drive from Cincinnati to support the faculty after a friend alerted him: “She gave me a whole laundry list of things that were wrong with the university and I thought I’d come up here and support it.”
Austyn Buchanan says the university’s promise of instructors feels like a lie, and says he’s not alone. “Of course not. I’ve seen texts all over from all different departments not having teachers. So it’s happening all over.”
University President Cheryl Schrader released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying in part “While many classes went on as normal, some also experienced disruptions.”
Taylor Dumas chose not to go to two classes Tuesday because they were taught by alterative instructors; she’s skipping one class Wednesday for the same reason. “I’m not paying to be taught by a sub, I’m paying to be taught by my teachers, and I don’t think that’s right.” This battle could force Dumas to make a life-altering decision. “I’m worried about my tuition and my financial aid. I’m trying to see how the strike holds out, to see if I should transfer or not.”
Many students say they’ll have to reassess whether they’ll stay at Wright State or transfer. But some upperclassmen say they feel stuck this close to graduation.
In her statement, President Schrader thanked students for their patience “as we continue to assess our coverage requirements based on faculty attendance.”
Here’s our coverage of the union’s first day on the picket line: