As the student voice of Youngstown State University, we let the students speak for themselves about their experience and impressions during YSU-OEA’s strike. The Jambar workshop class took to the streets to ask YSU students the scoop during the last days of the faculty strike. This is what the students had to say:
Lindsey Malcolm, senior psychology major // Jessica Stamp
Q: Overall impression of the strike on campus?
A: I felt bad for the teachers because they’re getting underpaid because most places are giving people raises during COVID-19. They are risking themselves everyday and then they were out there in the cold all day and that made me feel sad. It made me happy for them to hear everybody honking for them. We can hear it here in the library and they had the signs that said honk for the teachers. They had a lot of honks throughout the day.
Q: What was your overall impression of the strike?
A: I felt that negotiating was needed but striking in the middle of a semester was unnecessary, even though they tried doing it over break. I’m happy it’s resolved so that we can get back to classes. As a student trying to do classes, I was confused the whole week about what to do in my classes.
Q: Do you support the faculty? Why or why not?
A: I supported the faculty because in addition to the lack of a raise in recent years, they also had an outdated intellectual property clause that allowed the university to sell their work as their own. The strike affected only a couple of my classes since the majority of it was over fall break.
Michael Factor, junior political science and philosophy major // Ethan Snyder
Q: Do you, personally, support the strike? Why or why not?
A: I, personally, support the strike. I was actually out on the picket line earlier today. Reason being, I mean, Youngstown is a city with a long history of labor organizing. I mean, we really pioneered for a lot of the rest of the country in how unions operate. In Ohio, Youngstown was the first university, Youngstown College, to have a chapter of the Ohio Educators Association. The union that is striking now started in Youngstown. I think from a historical standpoint it makes sense that we have strong ties to labor. Personally, I think it is incredibly important to students and student’s success that there is shared governance with the university.
Hallie Renda, junior human resources major // Taylor Fronk
Q: Do you, personally, support the faculty? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I support the faculty. Some people argued that by going on strike the faculty cared more about their paycheck than their students. I don’t think this is true. I think it’s possible for them to care about us while also fighting for what they deserve. Luckily, the strike didn’t affect any of my assignments or classes because most of my professors are considered part-time, and one of my professors chose not to strike.
Q: What is your overall impression of the strike?
A: I feel that as students of YSU, at YSU, it is our turn to give our faculty members the support that they have given us. The demands that YSU-OEA are making are very reasonable but YSU is being very stubborn with their compromises. YSU has always operated as a business before a school and, in this case, it’s no different. The way the strike is talked about is also very sad with Tressel himself saying, “It’s certainly disappointing and unfortunate that it’s come to this point.” And people like Brien Smith also saying that he has disappointment with the faculty in their leadership and in handling the situation. It’s very disheartening.