Undergraduates held cardboard signs with messages like ‘Occupy Johnson’ and ‘Don’t Fuck w/ My Education’ in Lawrence 115. University Senate President Robert Kyr opened the meeting by reminding the senate to be respectful. He reiterated this throughout the meeting, reminding the senate that once the strike is over, “we will be left with each other.”
Interim President Scott Coltrane addressed several issues, including the UO’s participation in the AAU climate survey, strategic planning as well as academic continuity plans during the current strike.
“I think it’s fair to say that the GTFF strike is hard on everyone,” Coltrane said. “No one really wanted things to get to this point. Frances Bronet and I and our team certainly hope to reach an agreement and we work day and night to do it. No one wants to see the GTFFs we value so much on the picket line, but we certainly respect their right to be there.”
During the question and answer portion of the meeting professor Michael Dreiling discussed grading without the GTFF.
Without GTFF to determine student grades the university may have to enter X grades, which present issues for student financial aid and students graduating fall term. At one point during the discussion Coltrane said, “we’re all in this together” which was greeted with laughter from several members of the audience.
The meeting ended with a statement from GTFF member Jonathan Turbin. Turbin is a fourth year PhD student in anthropology and the vice president of organizing for the GTFF. Turbin thanked the senate for their support of the GTFF and expressed his willingness to return to his duties if the bargaining teams reach an agreement on Thursday.
“The university still has a chance to allow GTFs to make up for lost time and lost work,” Turbin said. “All we need is a fair contract and my fellow GTFs and I will happily walk back to our classrooms, offices and labs.”
Directly after the meeting, the GTFF held a rally outside of Lawrence Hall with chants of solidarity.
Besides addressing the GTFF strike, the senate also passed legislation that had been on the senate’s agenda for several weeks. The senate passed legislation proposing revisions to UO’s student conduct code to address sexual assault. Members of the senate have been working on the legislation since last spring.