Kutztown University students worry as possible strike looms

Union planning walkout at 5 a.m. Wednesday if agreement isn't reached

KU students worry as possible strike looms

MAXATAWNY TWP., Pa. - A media blackout remains in effect as negotiations continue between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

APSCUF represents faculty at the 14 state-owned universities, including Kutztown University in Berks County and East Stroudsburg University in Monroe County. The union said its members have been without a contract for more than a year.

At the center of the debate is the increase of temporary faculty and changes to benefits. The union said the state is trying to cut costs at the expense of the quality of education.

The union warns, if a deal is not reached by 5 a.m. Wednesday, October 19, it will strike.

Kutztown University students said they feel like they're caught in the middle.

"Professors are really letting us know that they don't think the strike is going to be resolved," said Chris Coaxum, a senior at the university.

"He basically said he hopes to us see there on Wednesday but he didn't sound very hopeful about it," said Brandon Crockett, a KU junior, referring to one of his professors.

Faculty members began clearing their offices last Thursday.

APSCUF said it does not want to strike, but feels it's necessary to reach a resolution.

Many students also hope the two parties can reach an agreement soon.

"It's kind of nerve-racking to know that school could just be stopped," added Coaxum. "We have to worry about making things up, worry about graduation."

The state association said students should report to class as faculty are not required to partake in the strike.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has a page on FAQs regarding the possible strike on its website.

APSCUF also has a information for students and families on its website.

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