Why Rutgers University Professors Might Go On Strike

The Possible Strike At Rutgers University Hinges On Barchi's Unfortunate Spending Decisions

It's time for Rutgers to fix its priorities. Our faculty is what keeps our university running. We stand with our teachers, and we expect change.

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Whispers have been floating throughout the Rutgers University campus for quite some time of a teacher strike, and whether people are interested in the solidarity of faculty or the possible break from classes, there are a lot of questions being asked.

So what does this mean? And what do we know?

To understand the effect is to understand the cause. The union at Rutgers, American Association of University Professors - American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT), has been fighting "the corporate university" for over a year to achieve affordable education, more diverse representation, and better quality of our education. This could call for the first faculty and grad strike in the university's 253-year history, as President Barchi's priorities have been deemed twisted to those who are affected by them.

"Our working conditions are our students' learning conditions," said Rutgers AAUP-AFT.

The union has outlined what exactly they are fighting for, including three subcategories of equity, quality higher education, and security. This includes equal pay for part-time faculty, female faculty, and faculty in Newark and Camden campuses for equity, improvement of student/faculty ratio by hiring more full-time faculty, more diverse faculty, and more teaching assistantship to improve the university's quality of education, and salary increases ahead of cost-of-living, five-year graduate funding packages, longer and more secure contracts for non-tenure track faculty, and family/research-friendly work schedules for security.

AAUP-AFT has also highlighted some unnecessary, costly expenses that Barchi has been selecting to indulge instead of faculty salaries. These expenses include athletics subsidies ($193 million), liquid unrestricted reserves ($783 million), and money spent on coaches/administrators "golden parachutes" ($11.5 million).

Union members at Rutgers Newark have demonstrated protests by picketing for three hours last Tuesday. Rutgers — New Brunswick plans to follow this display if no contracts are made or improved, affecting its approximate 38,000 students just as the spring semester draws to a close.

"It's a final warning — contract or strike," said Deepa Kumar, the president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT. "Do the right thing and give us a fair contract. Otherwise, we will have no choice but to go on strike."

I stand with AAUP-AFT Rutgers professors who are prepared to strike in order to defend affordable, quality higher education. When we organize and stand together, we win.

Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders)

Though the university's spokespeople are claiming that negotiations are underway, a strike is still on track to happen at some point next week, leaving classrooms empty and students without work.

"Yeah, it's going to be complicated. Every syllabus is going to be screwed up," said Margaret Curran, an undergraduate student at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. "But it's something that needs to be done. We understand and we stand with our professors."

It's time for Rutgers to fix its priorities. Our faculty is what keeps our university running. We stand with our teachers, and we expect change.

For more information, you can visit www.rutgersaaup.org.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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Rutgers' Faculty Union Came To A Last-Minute Deal And There Will Be No Need For A Strike

The threat of a strike was thick in Rutgers air over the past year, there have been more than 35 negotiating sessions since March, but they were able to come to a conclusion last night without the need of a strike.

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Spring is here, you can smell the stress of finals budding on the flowers. Classes are coming to an end and every second counts at this point.

Rutgers professors and other faculty were very close to canceling all classes and halting all research in the New-Brunswick Piscataway, Camden, and Newark campuses if the strike were to happen this week. They also would have asked part-time adjunct professors, who are not in their bargaining unit, to honor picket lines and not teach classes in protest for key union demands such as including pay equity, hiring more full-time faculty to improve the faculty-to-student ratio, and a $15 minimum wage for student workers,

The thought of a strike interfering for days of education made many students shudder but many understand the importance of Rutgers faculty reasoning and what was at stake.

"Camden and Newark faculty get paid less than New Brunswick — that is unconscionable," Hughes said. "Pay people the same. Equal pay for equal work for women, for men, for faculty of color, for white faculty and for faculty in Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark."

The faculty union was not asking for bizarre change, but demanding equality and attempting to cease the gender and race wage gap.

The threat of a strike was thick in Rutgers air over the past year, there have been more than 35 negotiating sessions since March, but they were able to come to a conclusion last night without the need of a strike.

While the threat of a strike was very apparent to make change, "Rutgers University averted what would have been the first strike by professors in the school's nearly 253 -year history by reaching a last-minute deal late Tuesday with the faculty union in a series of marathon negotiating sessions."

"We made history today," Rutgers AAUP-AFT president Deepa Kumar said in a statement. "For the first time in the union's nearly 50-year history, we won equal pay for equal work for female faculty, faculty of color and for faculty in the Newark and Camden campuses. We won significant pay raises for our lowest paid members, our graduate employees who will see their pay increase from $25,969 to $30,162 over the course of the contract."

Yesterday the gender gap wage, and racial gap wage along with campus gap wage was closed.

Deepa Kumar said in a statement, "For the first time in the union's nearly 50-year history, we won equal pay for equal work for female faculty, faculty of color and for faculty in the Newark and Camden campuses. We won significant pay raises for our lowest paid members, our graduate employees who will see their pay increase from $25,969 to $30,162 over the course of the contract."

I'm proud of Rutgers for standing their ground and demanding equality. Yesterday did make history.

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