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Teachers on strike at Ferris State University

Michael Barera

Roughly 300 teachers at Ferris State University didn’t show up for classes Monday after negotiations between the Administration and Union failed to produce a new contract.

Officials with the Ferris Faculty Association say they have met with the University multiple times since their contract expired in June, but they cannot come to an agreement on facilities spending or teacher salaries.

Michelle Rasmussen is a communications officer with the University. She said declining enrollment has meant the university has to tighten its belt.

“The university has a high concern about student debt and we simply can’t reach a contract that passes on that cost to our students.”

Charles Bacon is with the Faculty Association, which represents tenured faculty members. He said like many universities across the country the cost of college is due to administrative overhead - not teacher salaries.

“This scare tactic of saying ‘we’re going to have to increase the tuition 12%’ that’s just nonsense. They increased it 15% over the last contract and we lost ground. Ask yourself where the money is going.”

And, Bacon said, it’s not just an issue of teacher salaries - many classrooms need better equipment.

“This is the example that I can give you, the nurses over in our health professions area run out of supplies for their clinicals by February. They are reusing supplies in a nursing program. This is a perennial problem we have.”

Bacon said the strike won’t budge until a new contract is agreed upon or until a judge orders an injunction.

In the meantime, University officials say an administrator or alternate faculty member will be in classrooms to instruct students during the strike.