Five Pacific Lutheran University students, one alum and two organizers from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) gathered on upper campus Tuesday afternoon to deliver a petition to university president Thomas Krise.According to 925.SEIU.org, the petition read: “As PLU students, we support the efforts by contingent faculty at this university to form a union, and we request that the administration not use university resources, including our tuition dollars, to block those efforts.”
This was in response to PLU’s administration recently taking legal action to prevent contingent, or non-tenured, faculty members from joining a union.
Students gathered outside of the Mortvedt Library on Tuesday at 3:45 p.m. Attendees included junior Eric Herde, chair of PLU Democrats, and senior Kenny Stancil, president of PLU Students of the Left, as well as two other members of Students of the LeftThe paper student petition had accumulated 254 signatures by preliminary counts at 3:45 p.m., and the online version had 74 signatures. There was also a petition for community members and alumni to sign.
Around 4 p.m. the group made its way to the president’s office in the Hauge Administration Building. The executive associate to the president, Deidre Hill, informed the students that President Krise was in a meeting until 5:30 p.m. and had dinner plans directly afterward.
Attendees regrouped in the hallway and discussed briefly whether or not to give the petitions to the office of the Provost instead.
SEIU organizer Victor Crews suggested that since they had advertised the petition as going to the president’s office, they should drop it off with a message for him.
The group returned to the office, and alum Brian Menning, who graduated in 2007, shared a personal anecdote of how he had been assaulted as a student in 2006 and suffered a serious concussion. He said contingent faculty members helped him “put the pieces together” as he dealt with memory loss, and that was why he wanted to support them. “These people bring value to the institution,” he said.
Stancil and Menning left handwritten notes on top of the stack of petitions, which they left with Hill at the reception desk.Member of Students of the Left sophomore Carly Brook volunteered to follow up with an e-mail to make sure the president knew the purpose behind the petitions.
The group dispersed at about 4:15 p.m.SEIU community organizer Mary Nguyen sent the group off with words of encouragement. “Typically this is how people respond,” she said. “They’re not available, because they don’t want to talk to you.” She told students they were doing the right thing and thanked them for participating.
Read more about the plans of some contingent faculty to form a union on The Mooring Mast and LuteTimes.