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Enrollment not hurt



Published: Wed, August 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Strikes by both the faculty and classified personnel just days before the start of classes haven't hurt fall enrollment at Youngstown State University.

There have been rumors that some students are pulling their enrollments and going to other schools because of the strikes.

However, Ron Cole, a YSU spokesman, said enrollment stood at 12,181 as of midafternoon Tuesday. That number included 122 students who enrolled Tuesday morning after a brief, scheduled orientation session.

Another YSU spokesman, Walt Ulbricht, said an additional 60 to 70 students were expected to enroll after a similar session today.

Meanwhile, no further negotiations were scheduled as of late Tuesday afternoon with either the YSU Chapter Ohio Education Association, which represents 380 faculty members, or the YSU Association of Classified Employees, which represents about 400 nonteaching employees.

ACE members began their strike Aug. 16 while the faculty hit the picket lines Tuesday.

Future dates

Ulbricht said the federal mediator handling both contract negotiations was unavailable to meet Tuesday but that the university had been in contact with him about future dates.

Bob Hogue, faculty union spokesman, said his group learned that the mediator would be available to oversee talks this afternoon, if a meeting is scheduled.

The Internal Affairs Committee of the university's board of trustees planned to hold its own meeting on campus at 4 p.m. today to discuss the status of negotiations.

An ACE spokesman said the union had heard that many students were leaving the university and that enrollment was down to about 9,000. Hogue said his group had also heard rumors of students leaving but had no way to confirm it.

Many wait until last minute

Numbers released by the university showed enrollment is growing, and it's not unusual for the university to pick up 1,000 students in the final week before classes, Ulbricht said. Some wait until after the start of classes to register, he added.

The university had 13,100 students enrolled for the fall session last year and appears to be on line to be near that number again.

Representatives of both unions said they are concerned about the effect of the strike on students and both groups scheduled their strikes now in an attempt to reach agreement on contracts before the start of classes Monday.

The unions have expressed a willingness to meet at any time, and YSU President David C. Sweet said the university intends to work aggressively to get both disputes settled by Monday.

The Office of Academic Affairs, under Provost Robert Herbert, is working on a contingency plan in the event one or both strikes are not settled by Monday.

Ulbricht said that plan will likely be unveiled Thursday or Friday.

He also said the university is ready for residential students to move into campus housing Friday and Saturday.

Services not affected

The university has 1,230 beds in its housing units and occupancy is at 95 percent, he said.

Full services will be available to students moving in, though residential Internet access may not immediately be accessible for residential students, he said.

Food services are provided by Sodexco, a national vendor whose employees are not affected by either strike, Ulbricht said, adding that students will be able to take meals at Kilcawley Center or Christman Dining Commons.

Campus Internet service was restored Tuesday and Cole said that will allow students access to grades and e-mail. They can even apply and register online, he said.

The new $12.1 million Andrews Wellness & amp; Recreation Center, which ran into some delays this spring, was originally expected to be ready by the start of classes. It is in the final stages of construction and should be open by the end of the month or early September, Ulbricht said.

Wages and health care costs are major issues in both negotiations, though the unions have said other important items remain on the table.

Pay for retired faculty coming back to teach classes is one of those for the faculty union, while a proposed lower salary scale for new employees and a change in pay ranges (pay equity adjustments) for current employees are other remaining ACE issues.




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