Students voice concerns on faculty strike


From left to right: CFA field representative Jason Conwell, Professor Tim Sistrunk, and Counselor Mimi Bommersbach discuss the best way to hand out fliers to students. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall

The California State University faculty plan to strike on April 13, but students still have unanswered questions. Faculty are not satisfied with stagnant wages and are striking if CSU management does not make changes.

The California Faculty Association Chico chapter held an open meeting on Feb. 10 to answer questions and discuss the strike with faculty and students. Additionally, CFA President Jennifer Eagan hosted a media conference call to answer questions about the strike.

Many students, when made aware of the issue, are taking a stand in support of the CSU faculty demanding a five percent salary raise. The only concern students are expressing is how the strike will affect their courses.

Kinesiology professor and member of CFA for 20 years, Cathrine Himberg, instructs her students at the beginning of her yoga class. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall


“They should get a raise because it takes a lot of time to get to that professional level,” said Clarissa Wainschel, senior pre-credential education major. She views the strike as necessary. However, Wainschel specifically was concerned that tuition will increase to fund faculty salaries.

The CFA assures that tuition will not go up. After receiving a budget request from the state for the first time since the 2004 recession, the issue appears to fall on a misplacement of priorities. Student fees have increased over the years while faculty pay remains unchanged. More administrators and fewer tenure-track faculty have been hired. Student fees and faculty salary are unrelated as the budget shows.

Faculty are encouraging students to stand with them on the matter. But Wainschel is indifferent to actively supporting the strikers and physically joining them on the picket line. Wainschel emphasized that since this is her last semester, she mostly cares about going to class.

Philosophy professor and three-year CFA member Susanna Boxall, engages her students through discussion while wearing a CFA strike T-shirt. Photo credit: Ryan Corrall


Rachel Giorgino, senior English major, however, sees it as necessary and worth it for students to actively stand with the faculty.

“If (professors) are not going to have class, they might as well have students who agree on their decision, actually do something with them,” Giorgino said. “It’s kind of making good of a bad situation.”

Since Giorgino hopes to be an educator herself after graduating, she especially wants teachers to feel motivated and respected for their work. She said faculty should be paid more.

“Education is one of the most important jobs in the world,” Giorgino said.

CFA has made it known that faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. Overworking and teaching at multiple campuses inhibit professors from spending time with students. They are fighting for the CSU system to value teachers, students and classroom learning.

CFA fliers that explain the upcoming strike to students. Photo credit: Michelle Zhu


Right now faculty and administration are in a “fact finding” phase of the negotiation process, in which arguments are shared with a third party. If the chancellor and administration do not meet the request of the CFA, the faculty can strike.

The Office of the Chancellor has released a statement saying the CSU remains committed to reaching a resolution.

“Students should check with their instructors regarding the status of their classes. The strike should not interfere with students being able to complete their semester and quarter courses and graduate on time,” according to the statement.

To correct the drop of salaries, CFA stands firm in their demand for a five percent raise and has even provided a statement for supportive students to send Chancellor White as they wish:

“My name is ______, I am a Cal State student, and I want Chancellor White to know that my professors need a five percent raise. The CSU has the money. It is a matter of priorities. I cannot get the education I deserve unless my teachers are paid what they deserve.”

What happens next is up to the chancellor’s office.

Contact the Office of the Chancellor at (562) 951-4738 or [email protected].

Michelle Zhu can be reached at [email protected] or @mmichellezhuu on Twitter.