Education

Cal State campuses say education will go on during strike

Cecil Canton, left, a criminal justice professor at California State University, Sacramento, joins other faculty members at a news conference, at CSU, Sacramento, to discuss the independent report that supports the position that faculty members at the California State University system are underpaid, Monday, March 28, 2016. The administration says it doesn't have the money to give a 5 percent raise called for by the faculty association and has offered a 2 precent raise.
Cecil Canton, left, a criminal justice professor at California State University, Sacramento, joins other faculty members at a news conference, at CSU, Sacramento, to discuss the independent report that supports the position that faculty members at the California State University system are underpaid, Monday, March 28, 2016. The administration says it doesn't have the money to give a 5 percent raise called for by the faculty association and has offered a 2 precent raise.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

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The planned five-day strike by California State University faculty on April 13 is presenting a logistical puzzle for campus administrators.

Campuses large and small are having discussions about how to continue providing education to students during a five-day strike planned to start April 13. Those discussions involve campus staff, campus police, and local public transit agencies.

“We do expect there to be disruptions, but we will be open for business,” said CSU Long Beach spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp.

He doesn't anticipate all faculty on his campus will walk off the job, but he doesn't know how many will.

“We’re going to be playing it by ear,” Uhlenkamp said of his administration’s response if any of its 2,500 faculty cancel classes. He aid some faculty may hold classes off campus, but he doesn’t know how many professors will strike.

The California Faculty Association does have an estimate.

“We have firm commitments from about 60 percent of the faculty as a whole and many more people will honor the strike by not crossing the picket lines,” California Faculty Association President Jennifer Eagan said.

Faculty members authorized this strike and other strikes after, Eagan said, in order to pressure Cal State administrators to grant faculty a 5 percent pay increase. A recent study by an independent fact finder recommended Cal State take funds already committed to other programs to grant faculty the increase. Cal State said that would be fiscally irresponsible. Administrators offered faculty a two percent increase.

Uhlenkamp said CSU Long Beach's libraries, lounges and student service offices will be open. Getting onto campus might take a bit longer he said, because picketers might slow some of the campus entrances. And the 10-officer campus police department will have a “full presence” on campus during the five-day strike, he said.

Long Beach Transit buses have routes that take them into campus, he added, but the company will change its routes and will drop riders off just outside campus during the strike.

The strike may be intended to pressure administration, but in the short term it may affect students the most. 

“We need to make sure that students don’t think that it’s a week off from school and that therefore all their responsibilities are waived,” said Cal State Student Association president Taylor Herren.

Some students are asking her whether they can get a tuition refund for the five days of the strike. The answer is no, a Cal State spokeswoman said.

Herren said it’s important for faculty and students to talk to each other so students know whether their class is on or off or whether the location will be changed.

Her group published on Tuesday a list of “student rights during a strike.”

Education will continue during the strike, even if classes are cancelled, she agreed, and that education may include lessons in public policy: namely, what will happen if state lawmakers fail to increase funding for Cal State, the nation’s largest public university system.