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Wright State University 2019 faculty strike

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Dec 11, 2021

The Wright State University 2019 faculty strike was a strike organized by the Wright State chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in response to employment conditions imposed by the university. The strike began on January 22, 2019, after nearly two years of failed contract negotiations between the AAUP and the Wright State University administration. The strike ended on February 10, 2019. At a length of twenty days, it was one of the longest faculty strikes in the history of U.S. higher education. University President Cheryl B. Schrader received widespread criticism for her handling of the strike and stepped down from her position as a result.

. . . Wright State University 2019 faculty strike . . .

Schrader entered the position of President of Wright State on July 1, 2017, after a time of financial and political turmoil at the school.[1][2] Years of overspending had drained the reserve funds, according to the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.[3][4] The university budget had already been cut by some $30 million by the board of trustees and the interim president before her arrival.[5][6] According to Schrader, “the bulk of the budget cuts were supposed to have been completed” before she took over, but she faced further financial problems.[7] By the end of her first year, she had implemented close to another $20 million more in cuts while producing a “projected” surplus of some $7 million, the first operating surplus since 2012.[7] This earned her praise in her first annual review.[8] However, controversy arose when the university released a statement implying she had declined to accept an annual raise or bonus, when in fact neither had been offered.[9] The budget modifications did ultimately avoid a state fiscal watch, which had been considered likely in 2017 when she became president.[10]

Schrader’s approach to the university budget, as well as her general leadership during the first year were not without criticism. One member of the Wright State University Board of Trustees called her proposed 2019 fiscal year budget “a recipe for disaster.”[11] Schrader’s strategic plan for the university,[12][13] which had been specifically requested to be “different than anybody would see at another university,”[14] received criticism for being “overly broad” and “generic.”[15]

Relations between the administration and faculty, which were already strained by the financial difficulties,[16] deteriorated early in Schrader’s presidency.[17] Members of the Wright State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) were particularly strident in their criticism of the handling of the budget. In November 2017, the Wright State AAUP chapter president remarked that the relationship with the administration was no longer “cordial.”[18] A major issue was the employment contract: the faculty had been working without one since June 2017.[19] The union argued that the austerity measures in the contract being imposed by the administration were harmful to the students and to the educational mission of the institution,[20][21] and that the faculty was being forced to bear a disproportionate burden of the financial crisis even though it had been brought by the administration.[18] Tensions publicly erupted after a closed-door negotiating session in January 2018 when hundreds of faculty and students marched across campus to an open budget forum hosted by Schrader.[22] More protests followed. At a February demonstration, a professor characterized the budget modifications as a “budget-cutting spree” that protects “extreme salaries and bloat of the upper administration” and “slashes” the core mission of the university.[23] Some students also expressed concern about the impact the cuts would have on their studies.[23]

. . . Wright State University 2019 faculty strike . . .

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. . . Wright State University 2019 faculty strike . . .