Undergraduate students ill-informed on strike issues

By Gus Bode

With the strike date only a day away, students share their views on the possible picket and how they will be affected.

Contract negotiations have become a topic of discussion in classrooms. While the bargaining groups may be informed of contract details, some students say they have not been provided with enough information to form an opinion on the issue.

“It is confusing. On the union side, I have teachers preaching about how they are mistreated, and on the administration’s side I have received Rita Cheng’s condescending emails, which provided next to no useful information,” said Samuel Knight, a freshman from Glenview studying English.

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Knight said he wishes there was a reliable source of information for students. He said it is apparent faculty is unhappy, but he said he knows little about the administration’s side.

“Students are just getting bits and pieces from their teachers, which is obviously a biased source,” Knight said. “I don’t think there should be pressure for students to choose sides. Yes, it affects us, but I don’t think students should be missing class to go stand on the picket line.”

Jason Parini, a senior from Joliet studying architecture, said he thinks both the administration and faculty are trying to drag students into the middle of the situation.

“I feel like it’s a business conflict and that it needs to be resolved between the unions and the administration,” he said.

Loreto Cruz, a freshman from Montgomery studying radio-television, said he thinks student involvement could be good or bad, depending on how this week’s events unfold.

“Students have the choice to become educated and involved in the matter,” he said. “It is sad because many students seem not to care, even though, overall, they could end up being the ones who are most affected by the whole situation.”

Parini said he hopes the situation is resolved quickly so it does not jeopardize his education.

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“While I think it is very important for students to be educated about what is going on, I do not find it necessary for students to get involved,” he said.

Tina Havrilka, a non-traditional senior from Walnut Hill studying elementary education, said she thinks most information available for students is biased.

“Of course everybody has their own side, but nobody knows what the truth is except for the people at the bargaining table themselves,” she said.

Havrilka said the level of student awareness depends on the students themselves. She said  it is their job to seek out the information through all available news sources.

“Students should definitely become involved. After all, we are the ones paying for both the administration and faculty’s salaries,” she said. “I wish there was a way that we could all come together in one strong unit so we can express the way that we feel about what is going on.”

Cruz said he is upset by the amount of negative publicity the university has received since the beginning of the strike threats.

“I feel this string of events — the apparent climax of which being the strike — will have a detrimental effect on the value of students’ degrees,” Cruz said. “I am really worried about what will happen when alumni of SIU are looking for a job and the people of the public think of SIU as an establishment that cannot hold its own with their own employees, let alone its own students.”

Cruz said he is hopeful that SIUC will be able to salvage its good name, or at least muffle this blemish in its history.

 

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