hHd the opportunity to talk with a supporter of SIUC's strike (though not an actual striker), trying to get a better understanding why the strikers feel it is important enough for them to strike. From the conversation, a few factors emerged as underpinning the reasons for the strike, as least for some long time SIUC faculty members:
1) the SIUC 104
, fired in the spring of 1974, ostensibly as part of a budget crisis/financial emergency. However, it turned out that almost all of those fired were among the university's most outspoken opponents to the Vietnam War and many people perceived the university's finances as a convenient peg upon which to hang the removal of a disruptive element. Some long -time members of the faculty see the current financial situation as the opportunity for the administration to void tenure and terminate a number of long serving ( and higher paid) faculty, replacing them with lower cost term faculty.
2. Last year's furlough days
were at least troublesome and possibly in violation of the contract faculty has with the faculty and staff. At best they were most burdensome on those members of the university making the lease, since originally everyone took 4 furlough days whether they were a vice president or an office manager. It was only after significant bad PR, including President Poshard, that Chancellor Cheng and the Vice Chancellors took more. Compare that to UofI's policy
, which spread the pain out, with higher paid administrators taking 10 days furlough while those making less than $30,000 took none.
There are other reasons as well, but those two stood out during the conversation.