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Staff talks, students walk in YSU negotiations

Published: Tue, August 23, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.


The Vindicator ( Youngstown)

Youngstown State University students carry signs to Williamson Hall, where contract negotiations with faculty resumed Monday afternoon.


The Vindicator ( Youngstown)

Julie Sabo of Mentor, left, sits quietly with Jim Davis of Columbiana and Christi Walton of Youngstown during a peaceful protest Monday at Youngstown State University. These three seniors, and other students, had a sit-in at Tod Hall and then walked to Williamson Hall, where contract negotiations with faculty are ongoing. The students are worried about financial aid disbursements, as well as the start of classes.

By Denise Dick



About 30 Youngstown State University students sat on the first floor of Tod Hall with posters, calling for fair negotiations and an end to what they call a freeze in financial-aid disbursements.

Students received an email last week, informing them that financial aid and scholarship funds were frozen because a strike notice from the faculty union puts the date of the start of fall classes in question.

YSU and its faculty union continued negotiations Monday. Classes are to start Monday.

The strike notice means the union could walk off their jobs if an agreement isn’t reached by Friday.

The university said it was directed by the U.S. Department of Education to delay the financial-aid and scholarship payments.

“I want to be supportive,” said Bradley Slabe, a senior math major from Youngstown, who participated in the sit-in.

He isn’t so much affected by the financial-aid delay, but he knows others who are.

Slabe plans to go to graduate school next year, and the uncertainty about the start of the school year puts everything in limbo.

“This is the year that I’ll be studying for the [graduate-school exam], applying for grad schools,” he said.

Molly Toth, one of the sit-in organizers, said they want the administration to know that students are paying attention and students are affected. She, like other students, donned a winter coat to emphasize the “freeze.”

She’s hopeful that an agreement can be reached and classes start as scheduled.

“My gut feeling is to stick with the faculty on this issue,” said Toth, a senior anthropology major from Struthers.

She said she has a good relationship with her professors and works well with them. She is concerned about junior members of the faculty, who are paid less than the more senior professors, and the effect a 15 percent contribution for health insurance will have on them.

Right now, the minimums will remain at $75,674 for professors, $64,215 for associate professors, $51,238 for assistant professors and $38,689 for instructors.

Cynthia E. Anderson, YSU president, came down from her office to speak to the students. She said both sides are working to resolve the contract issues and get classes started as scheduled.

There will be a fall semester, Anderson said. The university has developed alternative calendars in case classes start later.

“We are dedicated to students — that’s not just words,” she said. “I hope we’ve proven that to you in the past.”

Meanwhile, students also are using social media to voice their support for either side. Two Facebook pages have been established since the contract dispute erupted.

One, YSU Students for Faculty, which had 512 followers as of Monday, says it stands in solidarity with the full-time faculty.

“Our faculty, who carry heavy teaching loads and provide countless extra hours of service to their students and their university, receive some of the lowest pay in Ohio’s public university system,” it says.

The other is YSU Students Against a Faculty Strike. More than 600 people had “liked” the page as of Monday.

“We realize that the fact-finders report does contain concessions from the previous contract,” the page says. “However, YSU faces a deficit which means they simply cannot afford this deal. With a potential for a double-dip recession upon us, we endorse the administration fiscally conservative approach to the contract negotiations.”

At least one member of the administration is calling for shared sacrifice from his colleagues.

Bruce Waller, chairman of the philosophy and religious studies department, wrote a letter to colleagues Aug. 13.

“Speaking in my role as a member of the administration, it seems to me fundamentally unjust that those who are best off — who are receiving the highest salaries — should make no sacrifice in dealing with this financial crisis, while those who are worst off [both students and junior faculty members] are facing major financial hardships,” Waller wrote.

He proposes a $1,500 cut in the stipend department chairs receive for administrative duties as department chairs. For most department chairmen, that stipend is $15,000, Waller’s letter says.

He acknowledges that cut won’t be pleasant and that it will affect the way that he and his family live.

But the sacrifices won’t be as painful as the cuts for junior faculty or as the tuition and fee increases will be to students, Waller wrote.

He proposes that his fellow administrators — deans, associate deans, vice presidents, provost, president and other administrative officers — accept a 10 percent pay cut of all pay higher than $100,000.

“Obviously, such a pay cut would not be pleasant; but when one is starting from a salary of $100,000 that is exempt from any reduction, it is obvious that sharing the sacrifice being made by other members of our community would not be painful,” the letter says.

Waller calls for all administrators to “forge a bond of fairness and solidarity with our students, faculty and members of the university community, and to aid the university we cherish in its time of trouble,”

In an interview with The Vindicator last week, Anderson said everyone would likely have to share in the sacrifice, but she declined to elaborate.


1whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

There's something happening here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there.
Telling me I got to beware
I think its time to stop, children whats that sound, everybody look whats going down.
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think its time we stop, hey, whats that sound
Everybody look whats going down.
What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs, and carrying signs
Mostly say HOORAY for OUR side.
It's time we stop, hey whats that sound
Everybody look whats going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
Its starts when your always afraid
You Step out of line, the Man comes, and takes you away.

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2Woodley(26 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

As a YSU junior and a non-traditional student, I applaude the song submitted by "whitesabbath" and especially the comments of Dr. Bruce Waller. Dr. Waller is an excellent teacher. His one class on "Critical Thinking", enables the student to abandon ths "Banking Theory of Education" which so many schools and colleges adhere to. Dr. Waller has not allowed the title "Doctor" to go to his head. He along with people like Dr. Benning, Prof. Sergi, Dr. Tessier, Dr. Lepak, and others remain faithful to the student's
education not the size of their pay-checks. I am hoping that Dr. Anderson REALLY cares about the YSU students and not just become one od the "good ole boys" with a skirt. I TRULLY support the falcuty in their efforts to maintain a respectful income. They are the ones who do the work, not the empowered heads who have the majority of the financial benefits. But then is not this the American way? The President, the House (especially), the Senate, the Govenors, (Kasich and Walker), are not about to give one penny of their salaries to help anyone, but will dictate to everyone else that we should survive the best way we can with what they ALLOW us to have.

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3Attis(1134 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Looming over this whole sordid affair created and sustained by the YSU administration is SB5, a law that would outlaw unions among college faculties as well as decimate collective bargaining for all public employees in Ohio. The current governor desperately wants this draconian bill to be law; so do its ardent supporters, including Anderson and the YSU Board of Trustees, who are appointed by the governor. That's why these rabid SB5 supporters are precipitating a faculty strike to paint college teachers as greedy/selfish in the coming propaganda campaign. If you don't think so, enroll in Waller's Critical Thinking class for further enlightenment.

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4drpautot(70 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

the strike affects myself in so many ways. i cant afford my books, rent or bills. i hope these teachers and administrators realize that they are taking away money that alot of non-traditional student like myself depend on to sustain ourselves. i recieve SSI, and the reason i decided to go back to college is becuase i want a career, and not be a burden on society. i hope they also realize that theres a good chance they may be looked after in thier latter years by current nursing students. i guess wallstrret 2's title would be appropriate for this scenario. "GREED NEVER SLEEPS." i blame all sides for this fiasco.

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5dancinmoses(68 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

"..... so as for Dr. Anderson, it's unclear whose hand makes her mouth talk."

This quote from a student letter to Jack Fahy, Cindy anderson's replacement, says it all. She no more cares about the students except maybe her pay might be withheld? What a concept that would be, students dictating the pay for those high priced figure heads?

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6topsailwatch(80 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Give me a break. I can count on one hand the "teachers" that give soooooooo much of their time to the University. How many have extra jobs in the many hours that they are not "teaching" ? Oh sure, some of them spend extra hours writing papers (publish or perish) to further their own careers. They are a greedy bunch. If they aren't happy with YSU......get out and find another cushy job. Very few would find work in the private sector.

My heart goes out to Dr. Anderson to hear all of the lies about her. She is the best president that the students will ever encounter.

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7southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I think that it is easy for people who are not involved in the educational field to criticize our profession. Teaching classes at the Collegiate level is not as easy as some people may think.

To drpautot in comment #5: you stated that you rely upon the financial aid money to pay your bills. That is the wrong reason to be in College.

Also, just for the the record, "I" should be capitalized.

Good luck!

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8Richmond(15 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Major kudos to these youngsters for not just peacefully protesting but for understanidng that what is going on is wrong. In the end both sides will get what they want leaving only the students to be even more negatively impacted by the resulting increases in tuition. One thing that admin and profs at YSU must realize is that the students are paying customers who have many alternative and better choices regarding insitutions of higher ed. Unfortunatley YSU looks at the eventual hiring companies of grads as the customers. So then, what are students considered in the whole scheme of things? Quite simply, bargaining chips. And as bargaining chips, the students again will be exploited and inconvenienced. As honorable as the students think they are by protesting, don't think that some won't be ridiculed by the union faculty down the road. And for what??? The strike won't happen, they will settle at the midnight hour for school to start on Monday the 29th. And faculty will expect all of their students to have all of their books/materials for the first day, even if the actions of the faculty delayed students financing for the semester.

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9Westsider(269 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I don't like to be contradictory "southsidedave," but if you are a professor you must be rather out of touch with the job market. Many of your students are in college to earn a degree and to qualify for a better job; thus they borrow extra financial aid money for books, learning materials and living expenses so they don't have to ask their families or taxpayers to support them. The increases in tuition pay for the operating expenses of the institution including faculty and staff wages and benefits. Be a little grateful instead of critical to the people without whom you wouldn't have a job.

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10Chief_Justice_Spartacus(26 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago


This is ACT II from the 2008 negotiations debacle. It’s not about the STUDENTS, it should be, but yet it isn’t. In 2008 it was about YSU’s Centennial. Negotiations had to be completed on time at any/all cost. Remember that huge amounts of money were flowing in from Alumni and the Valley’s affluent. Fast forward to 2011 and now you have payback for the 2008 negotiations at any/all cost especially to the STUDENTS. The Sweet Administration deceived the BOT with the help of Dr. Cyndy Anderson, Dr. Ikram Khawajwa and Mr. Eugene Grilli, just review the email from July 2008 that’s been floating around campus the last three years which evidenced their involvement in the cover-up. Board Chairman Scott Schulick felt personally embarrassed as well as the entire BOT. Now it’s Dr. Anderson, Dr. Khawaja, Mr. Grilli and the BOT’s time to get revenge. Yes, yes, conveniently Mr. Schulick steps down as the Chairman, what timing!

In Executive Session, the Fact Finder’s Report was rejected on the advice of Mr. Martin Bramlett and Mr. Kevin Reynolds from Human Resources and Attorney George Crisci. Interesting that these three individuals are affiliated with Union busting law firms. Once again the BOT and especially the PUBLIC is being fed bad information concerning the financial health of the University. I wonder why the University administration won’t release the enrollment numbers. With the 3.5% increase in tuition (students must pay more monetarily) combined with another record increase in student enrollment which increases Ohio state subsidies, the University administration will once again bestow themselves with equity based pay increases to offset any increase in healthcare cost. They will then declare they have sacrificed too. What BULL! Let’s not forget the YSU Foundation with its 150 million dollars that support the University. Why wouldn’t the YSU Foundation absorb the 3.5% tuition increase for a year and give the STUDENTS a break. Really Reid, you can’t swing this offer to students one time?

When the dust finally settles, I see Bramlett and Reynolds being sacrificed just as Habat and Chatman were for the 2005 strike. Can anyone remember the Labor Panel and its Report to the Board of Trustees? Attorney Crisci will go quietly away counting his stack of money as did Attorney Wilkins in 2005…continuing to practice their craft with their next victim.

Who suffers most…the STUDENTS, ALUMNI, the MAHONING VALLEY and its CITIZENS. Will YSU ever have a competent leader on its BOT like Dr. Perry, and a University President like Dr. Neil Humphey?.


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11Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Most people don't know anything about what's actually going on behind closed doors. Like, for instance, how it's the board of trustees and the administration that is refusing to come to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith. The faculty already accepted a very concessionary contract.

This is about something no one is telling you. This is not about greedy teachers, who would be taking a 5-12 thousand dollar pay cut from the contract they already accepted. And yet the board wants more.

People who have opinions should at least be informed.

You will not get informed by reading this newspaper.

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12Attis(1134 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Sparatus, let's hope your invaluable information will inspire an uprising in keeping with your name. High time these vultures masquerading as administrators get exposed and expelled.

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13Attis(1134 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

one more bit of info: here's a quote from the August 9 fact finder's report: "The fact finder simply finds that the financial situation of the Employer [YSU] is stable". The report was rejected by George S. Crisci, an attorney for YSU in the union-busting firm of Zashin & Rich, which held a seminar on SB5 (which they love) at Quickens Loan Arena on April 12 to advise managers how to overcome "likely challenges posed by organized labor" to SB5. In other words, YSU students and faculty are being held hostage by corrupt forces in the university/government who want SB 5 to become law and want a strike to take place so they can use it in their pro-SB5 propaganda campaign. Don't let these crooks get their way.

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14taxpayer1001(274 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

mlisi39- instead of a random comment like that, why not speak up? Any "true" information is not a bad thing. That's what the area needs more than anything now

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15eamiller01(2 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I am a grad student at YSU, I am a student worker, and an adjunct faculty member (non-union). I just worked at the university today, and I know first-hand the dynamics of the situation on campus between the faculty and administration.

This article misrepresents the situation at YSU, and makes it seem like this is the faculty's fault. The writer fails to mention the fact that faculty members voted for a PAY CUT and the ADMINISTRATION voted against it! If anyone is to blame for this, it is Cynthia Anderson and the administration of YSU, not the instructors. If anything, the students and faculty members of YSU need the community's support. This is not a display of "greedy" teachers, but instead, it is a display of a corrupt administration and the true colors of the "student-centered" president.

YSU could have dispersed the financial aid to the students. If they would have, without knowing the school start date, they would have had to pay a fine. But, I think that this is a small inconvenience for YSU compared the detriment this is causing some students. ( I can survive for a little while, but some students are in big trouble - no money for rent, utilities, etc.).

Additionally, this article fails to mention the fact that most instructors at YSU are part-time faculty with no union memberships who make very little money ($15,000 or under each year). None-the-less, the money that profs and instructors make are extremely justifiable because of the amount of education and expertise required for the position.

As a grad student, for example, my education will cost $100,000, and for PhDs, it is so much more than that. I'm not complaining, but this just illustrates the salary justification for those who feel that teachers (of any level) are overpaid, despite the fact that this is not about the faculty members getting paid more money.

Despite half-fact articles, such as this one, I hope that the local community can pull together and support its students, teachers, and university (sans administration). Don't believe everything the media spoon-feeds you, and if you want the facts, ask someone who is really there and is living through it.

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16Tepee(7 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Nice tidbit of information in relation to the pending strike at Youngstown State University:
“Ohio’s Governor Kasich would decrease funding of higher education by 11 percent, a cut of $510 per student.”

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