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Letter to Students from President Welsh
October 21, 2016
Students and Colleagues,
As we head into day three of the faculty union (APSCUF) strike, I realize that frustration and pressure continue to mount for you, particularly our students who are making every attempt to receive the quality education you expect at East Stroudsburg University. I wish we had new information to pass along, but as of this morning, the faculty union has still not accepted the State System’s last contract offer for compensation, including benefits. Yesterday, I shared some important information with you about current employee salaries and what was offered to faculty in the last contract offered on Tuesday evening. Today, I thought it was important to provide a better understanding of the healthcare coverage the faculty currently receives and what is being offered.
The faculty has been offered the same health care benefits as me, the Chancellor, and other managers as well as every nurse and police officer at the same cost. AFSCME is in a different plan. The change in the cost to the faculty includes an increase of approximately $5.00 in the biweekly deduction, a change in the deductible to $250 annually for individuals and modest changes to the prescription plan. They currently have, for in network, no deductible for preventative care including physical exams, immunizations, colorectal cancer screening, mammograms, or routine PSA screening. NONE OF THAT WILL CHANGE in the current proposal. The full benefits summary can be seen here.
On other matters, I continue to be proud and grateful for the caring campus community in which we live, work and learn every day. We have responded to many questions and concerns of students, parents and staff within the past 48+ hours, but there are some questions that we just can’t answer – particularly “When will my professor return to class?” And “How long will the strike continue?” I wish I had an answer for you but the faculty union called the strike and only the faculty union can end the strike.
The strike has taken particular toll on commuter students, some of whom have traveled great distances to attend class only to be disappointed in the fact that their professors have opted to strike. We will be announcing early this morning exactly how students can confirm if their faculty member will be in the classroom., so stay tuned. We do care about our commuter students and appreciate the push to get more information for them. However, if a faculty member DOES chose to be in the classroom to teach, I urge you to be there to learn. Absences will not be excused if the faculty member choses to teach.
There is also tremendous distress among parents and students who have paid or are continuing to pay tuition or worry about making payments on student loans. Many have been very vocal and demanded refunds. We are not in a position to award refunds for these strike days but rest assured that our division of Academic Affairs has plans in place for making up any lost time in the classroom as a result of the labor action. The plan is similar to how we would make up for lost time due to a snow storm or a campus-wide closure due to unforeseen interruption. Right now we’re taking it day by day, but rest assured we will do what it takes to find a means for students to complete their semester and to move on and earn their degrees.
I ask all of you to do your best to make the most of every day at ESU and continue to make strides in your education whether it is to read your textbooks, complete assignments from your syllabus or develop study groups with other students. For our staff, I thank you once again for providing our students with the critical support and encouragement they need at this trying time. Whatever you do, please do stay informed.
We will share updates with you as we receive them. Please continue to visit the ESU website and monitor your official ESU email and use the ESU call center and e-mail address to share concerns or questions with us. Also visit the website of the State System for the latest on MYTH BUSTERS. Know what is fact versus what is myth.
Marcia G. Welsh, Ph.D.
Faculty Negotiation Updates
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Faculty Negotiation Updates
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