Faculty strike looming over university system

Normally, Sonoma State University students starting Spring Semester concern themselves with the challenge of new classes and the accompanying homework, new school t-shirts and sweatshirts, club events, Residential Student Association trips, or, for those who want to be in a sorority or a fraternity, Spring Recruitment. However, this year there is a new concern that all students who attend California State Universities have to worry about.

Last semester, the California Faculty Association, a union that supports the California State University professors, authorized its members to strike. Perhaps surprisingly, most students on this campus are unaware of this strike and its objectives. For example, “Ever since we got back from break students have not been updated about this strike and do not know why professors are wanting to strike” stated Freshman Amber Pearson.

What students also need to know is that California State University professors did not receive the raise that they requestedback on November 4th  of last year, according to an article written by Sonoma State’s statistics professor Elaine Newman. She is one of the many professors on this campus really involved in this potential strike.

In the article that she wrote for the Press Democrat, Newman states that “for almost a decade, we received no raises at all, suffered under a year of furlough, reductions in pay, and saw our classrooms get more crowded. Faculty at Sonoma State have lost about $10,000 per year in purchasing power since 2004.”

Knowing this information about teachers payit even more crucial for this strike to actually happen in order to get anything fixed. 

For some students like Breanna Gaither the idea of a strike is upsetting. She believes that “it is sad that it is necessary that a strike will have to occur in order for professors to gain the money that they deserve.” Ms. Gaither also thinks that “the professors are not asking for that much of a raise and that administrators of the California State University schools are paid fives times more than teachers every year.”

Prietika Williams is a Sophomore and believes that “it is understandable that the professors want a raise because they work hard and deserve to be paid for their work.” She also believes that “the school has more than enough money to meet the professor’s request.”However, one thing Prietika is worried about is “if the professors pay is raised will tuition be more expensive?” 

Students have some time before the strike potentially will begin, since the process ofmounting a strike takes a long time. This past week the professors on the Sonoma State campus met up and discussed what they will need to do in order to make this strike happen. “The meeting also involved talking about how professors will reach out to students about the strike” stated Newman.

Since creating a strike involves legal process behind it,  Newman could not comment on when the strike might officially begin. “If this strike were to actually happen, it could be between anytime after spring break and or mid-semester” stated Newman.

Knowing this new information will hopefully keep the Sonoma State University community more aware of what this strike is about, and why this strike is potentially so significant. 

“The most important thing that students have to remember is that this strike would not hurt students. It would only allow faculty to attract more great teachers to Sonoma State University, and, with that, student’s education would be worth more. Overall, what students need to remember is thatyour teachers are fighting for you and a reinvestment in CSU education” stated Newman.