CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - SIU professors are back to class Thursday after a week-long strike ended Wednesday night.
The Faculty Association's Departmental Representative Council voted to approve a proposal from the university administration.
The proposal has to be worked up into a tentative agreement and voted on by the union's membership before it is made official, but union leaders are confident enough in the proposal to end the strike and send professors back to work.
"I am so happy to be back," said Dr. Holly Hurlburt sitting in her Faner Hall office for the first time in a week.
Hurlburt and her colleagues have a lot of catching up to do, but she says she doesn't mind because even being behind in her office is better than being out front on the picket line.
"Nobody enjoyed it," said Hurlburt. "It was a long day, day after day in the cold, the wind."
Hurlburt says those cold days were warmed only by gestures of support from her students.
"Students who may not have spoken much in class nonetheless came up to me or sent an email saying 'come back'. That's what motivated us."
Thursday, it was the moment the 80 or so students of History 201 and their teacher have been waiting for, Dr. Hurlburt's first class back.
"My apologies that this has been a huge mess for all of you," Dr. Hurlburt told her class.
"I think we were all pushed behind and we were supposed to have our big mid-term paper due and that is pushed behind. I think everyone's just off," said SIU sophomore Jordan Kinney.
"We had that big paper due," said freshman Brittany Stark. "Of course we got more time on it, still it's good to be back on track and in class so we don't have all that confusion."
Dr. Hurlburt has planned study sessions and extra office hours to help bring the students up to date on two 19th century lectures that were lost to the strike. It's an era she may now have even more insight into after spending a week on the picket line.
"The 19th century is a century of protests and engagement and class struggle," Dr. Hurlburt said. "So that's what I get to tackle today. That, and Beethoven."
It's unclear when the tentative agreement will be voted on by the union's membership.