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Community Building: On The Picket Line

APSCUF!!

APSCUF!!

Of the 31 faculty members and students interviewed most joined the picket line. Picketing locations included three main areas: Millersville campus, the Ware Center, and the Dixon Center. For the majority of the event, picketers moved between the first two sites. Marches at the Dixon Center only occurred on the second day of the strikeOctober 20th, 2016. However, despite the pre-arranged picketing locations, each picketer’s experience varied.

 

Protest Signs

Protest signs

We Aren't Angry. Just Disappointed.

We aren't angry. Just disappointed.

A handful of interviewees described their involvement as “just participating.”1 These individuals found it heartening to join their fellow coworkers in an act of supportive unity. Beth Powers (Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education) carried this sentiment forward, thinking back on her refusal to “cross the picket line” as she stood “in solidarity with the union and my colleagues.”2 However, the phrase “just participating” called upon various meanings for a few of the other interviewees.

Some provided the assistance needed to make the signs faculty members planned to carry. Utilizing her “twelve hundred square foot studio at home,” Line Bruntse (Sculpture, 3D Design and Drawing) volunteered her studio for “sign making and any meetings we might need to have if the strike went long.”3 About thirty faculty members “helped to make signs the night before.”4 Of the interviewees that helped make the signs, several, like Alex DeCaria (Meteorology), found the desire to participate through a want “to be active and a part of it.”5 Equally, through her laughter during the interview, Shauna Frischkorn (Photography) recalled the funny experience of seeing “at least fifty percent of the signs walking around with my handwriting.”6 Within forty-five minutes, Line noted that “two hundred signs, double sided,” had been made.7

 

 

Reference This

Reference this

Other interviewees talked about the variety of emotions they felt during the walk-out, the spectrum ranging from apprehension to enthusiasm. Previously, Millersville approached the idea of walking-out multiple times, yet never followed through. As the first strike, many interviewees felt initial feelings of caution towards the event as they remained unsure of the responsibilities and procedures a strike entailed.

“...That was the other thing, was that going to work out, what was going to happen when I came on campus, would anybody be here or would I just show up and it's me and, you know, maybe Ken Smith, who’s my vice president, and the two of us are out there picketing, would anybody really show up?”8 -Barry David

Faculty Fights for Fairness

Faculty fights for fairness

Carrie Smith (Sociology) remembered feeling nervous, although for a very different reason than Barry David. Drawing from her childhood experiences in Singapore, she noted that Singapore retained a “very authoritarian society” where “there’s really no freedom of speech.” 9 In contrast, the picket line provided an opportunity to “peacefully gather and air your grievances.”10 Yet, despite her initial feelings of anxiety, she continued to stand on the picket line with her fellow colleagues.

Serving as a picket captain, Kathryn Allen (Organic/Polymer Chemistry) remembered the overall experience “as a hoot.”11 Prior to the strike, she stayed up most of the night only to wake up at four A.M and immediately contact Steven Kennedy, a fellow colleague. That early Wednesday conversation prompted several “oh my gosh” statements from Allen over the actuality of the strike and the public’s immediate response to it.12 Arriving on campus around five-thirty in the morning, she recalled the “few of us” standing outside in the dark and eerie beginning hours of the first day waiting for the event to unfold.13

Students Deserve Dedicated Faculty

Students deserve dedicated faculty

Yet, a few added their own creative spin to the strike. Beth Katz (Computer Science) became a prime example. She identified her picketing experience as “the hiking version.”14 Starting on the corner of George Street and Cottage Avenue, her location originally acted as a “sort of extension group” in relation to the other sites.15 Yet, instead of remaining at a localized standstill, the group decided to hike “as many paths as we could go on throughout campus.”16 The movement allowed for greater visibility of the strikers and their cause. This idea created the possibility for heightened awareness and public interaction across campus.

Frank T. Brogan Incomplete

Let the hiking begin

  1. Alex Redcay (The School of Social Work) interview by Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, February 28, 2017, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  2. Beth Powers (Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education) interview by Stephanie Pennucci and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, November 14, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  3. Line Bruntse (Sculpture, 3D Design and Drawing) interview by Lauren Cameron, November 16, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  4. Alex DeCaria (Meteorology) interview by Stephanie Pennucci and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, November 14, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Shauna Frischkorn (Photography) interview by Stephanie Pennucci and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, November 18, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  7. Bruntse, interview.
  8. Barry David (Applied Engineering, Safety and Technology) interview by Katie Barrett, November 28, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  9. Carrie Smith (Associate Professor of (Sociology) interview by Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, March 10, 2017, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Kathryn Allen (Organic/Polymer Chemistry) interview by Abigail Gruber, November 15, 2016, transcript, Millersville University Special Collections, Millersville, PA.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Beth Katz (Computer Science) interview by Elizabeth Nelson and Katie Barrett, November 30, 2016.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
Community Building: On The Picket Line