Both the Faculty Association and SIU Administrators say they don't want to see a strike. They both say they'll continue to negotiate right up to the February 3rd deadline set by the Faculty Association union members. But they both are also continuing to prepare for the threatened walkout.
"We're making an effort to have an instructor in every class. We don't know what the result might be of a faculty strike. We don't know how many people might be here, how many might be gone," says Sue Davis SIU's Executive Director of Media & Communications.
But replacing tenured professors with substitutes isn't going to work according to members of the Faculty Association. "This isn't a place that has a great wealth of skilled, educated, trained, and experienced teachers. Who can take over from those of us who say enough of this economic injustice to the students, to the faculty, and to the community by what Chancellor Walter Wendler is doing, "says Lenora Langsdorf.
Throughout all of the talks about a possible strike at SIU the non-union teachers have remained silent, until now. In Tuesdays Daily Egyptian, the campus newspaper, they made their feelings known about being caught in the middle, in an open letter. "Because you're different from all the rest of what's going on out there. So you don't really feel like you belong to one side or the other side, and you're being put in a position of choosing between the sides. When really you don't agree fully with either side," says Karen Lips Assistant Professor of Zoology.
Now the non-union teachers are worried about what damage will be done to students and the University in the event of a strike. "I'm hoping for some sort of compromise where we can all walk away from this without too much damage being done to the university, the students, and particularly to the students who maybe graduating at the end of this semester," says Matt Whiles Assistant Professor of Zoology.