Students and faculty alike were swept in a wave of relief on Sunday as the announcement was made that the administration and AAUP had come to an agreement on a new faculty contract. The looming strike had created a tense atmosphere over the past few weeks. The seriousness of the negotiations sparked conversation among students, many wondering what would happen next. Despite the fact that an agreement has been reached, the discussions still persist. A summary of the agreement will be presented to the faculty for ratification on Tuesday, Oct. 14, but it looks as though a deal has been struck.
Some fingers were surely crossed that the strike would take place — mostly because a strike could have meant a few days off from class. That time could have been used to catch up on work, to study or even just to rest. Many students had planned for the strike to happen, some even stating that they neglected their schoolwork in desperate hopes that they would have at least one day off from class. Students pined for this minuscule vacation, possibly in lieu of the fall break that many universities offer. Unfortunately, for those hopefuls, it’s back to work and back to classes.
The majority of us, however, including the staff at The Rider News, are grateful that a strike was avoided. Most can agree that a day off would have been a blessing. However, a bigger blessing comes from our professors being present in their classrooms. While this means more work, it also means more return on our investment. We invested our tuition money into Rider with the belief that we would receive a full, quality education. A strike, no matter how brief, would have diminished the productivity and quality of learning this semester. Overall, the students of Rider, and their parents, are thankful that this conflict was avoided.
An outcry on social media morphed into a protest against substitutes replacing our professors in the face of a strike. Many were angry that this was even being considered as an option. As freshman information systems major Aaron Abrams stated, the strike would have been “a waste of multiple students’ money to come here.”
We chose to attend Rider in part because of the faculty’s skills. Many returning students went through the trouble of carefully handpicking professors when creating their schedules. Students might as well have thrown their tuition money out the window if anyone less than the professionals they expected were standing at the front of the classroom.
Concerns about what would happen with credits also rooted themselves among students. As an agreement has been reached, much of that worry has been alleviated. Students are grateful that they will be earning the credits they paid for, especially those seniors whose graduation day is creeping closer. Many may not have been concerned about missing a day or two, but if the picketing had lasted too long, many students would worry about receiving their credits to stay on track.
Many were unsettled by the process of negotiating contracts that happen every three years. It seems to students that the administration and the AAUP have a track record of strongly disagreeing. The threat of a strike is not entirely new to this year. Students feel that if this system isn’t working, why not do things differently? As Will Gallgher, junior arts administration major stated, “Chaos does not govern order.”
Students were not the only ones feeling the quake of the possible strike. Many around campus claim their parents had strong reactions. Some parents were angry at the situation, wondering why the administration and the AAUP could not simply settle. Other parents said that they would bring their children home if the strike persisted too long. Another parent, Bob Witanek, went as far as to start a petition in support of the faculty.
Robert Colby-Witanek, the Wesminster Choir College piano major who is the son of Bob Witanek, said, “A strike would have cost parents, in total, an estimated $750,000 a day on tuition already spent on classes not provided. If it lasted a week, it would have cost us $3.5 million.” Witanek drives home the point of students’ and parents’ concerns on the monetary impact of the strike. Because of these numbers, the majority of both students and parents are satisfied with the strike having been avoided. No one wanted to feel the aftershocks of this historic event as it rippled through their wallets.
Most students feel grateful that a strike was averted. The fears of students have been calmed and the outcries of parents have been silenced. The administration and the AAUP have come to an agreement, allowing the rest of the semester to continue with ease. Most importantly, Rider can maintain its standard of excellence with its strong faculty to carry its reputation of high academic integrity.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Samantha Sawh.
Printed in the 10/08/14 issue.