This following letter was written by Humboldt State graduate student Nicola Walters, in response to President Rossbacher’s previous email regarding a possible faculty strike:
Dear Dr. Rossbacher,
As a student at Humboldt State University, I am concerned about the potential strike. I am concerned because I believe that professors are the keystone of this incredible institution and that the value of my education comes from interacting with them, not a syllabus. I believe that professors should be supported by the administration, especially when our professors have shouldered financial strain for years [in an attempt] to alleviate the growing costs placed on students. It is time that they were compensated. It is stated in the HSU vision statement, “We will be renowned for social and environmental responsibility and action,” however, the administration is discouraging social action (involving both faculty and students), has targeted protesters with cuts to financial aid, and has proven to be irresponsible with the livelihoods of the campus faculty, many of whom must seek supplemental employment in order to “make ends meet.” It is because of the professors that I joined the university community, which is why I am concerned by the assault on the professors, students, and the resulting impact on educational pursuits at Humboldt State University.
In light of news of the potential strike, to receive an e-mail from the administration that does not support the professors, is a great disappointment. In the e-mail, you wrote that HSU will work to maintain full operation with “minimal disruption to students, faculty, and guests” during the strike. This fundamentally misconstrues the nature of the disruption. The disruption is the administration. It is a disruption that the administration has cultivated growing numbers of overworked and underpaid lecturers, while decreasing positions available for adjunct professors. It is a disruption that diverse professors are fired without just cause. It is a disruption that the administration values numbers and statistics instead of fulfilling promises like housing for the rising numbers of incoming students, faculty in our classrooms, or resources for our minority students when they experience the ugly face of racism in this community. Humboldt State University has served as an emblem for progressive politics and activism for years, thus the crack down of the administration on students and faculty is a disruption. In light of this reality at Humboldt State, the students are told that the disruption comes from a demand for just compensation? The position of the university is deplorable.
Our “campus leadership team” has failed us. Yet, positive outcomes are made possible through uniting students, faculty, and staff throughout our academic institutions. Solidarity with our professors is the only way to prevent further disturbances and is the precedent HSU ought to set for the future.
Out of respect for our educational pursuits, I challenge the position of the administration; with respect for our professors, I urge support for their requests.
M.A. Student in the Environment and Community Program