Marty Miller was frustrated. He had just walked out in the middle of Temple University's Interpersonal Communication class after two teaching assistants began repeating information about the class textbook and structure. Miller's professor had joined colleagues Tuesday morning in the first day of a strike by Temple's faculty union, the Temple Association of University Professionals, who were demanding better salaries and benefits. "Something should have been done," Miller, a senior, said bitterly. TAUP called for the strike to protest of the university's most recent contract offer, which would increase annual salaries by five percent, 2.5 percent lower than the faculty requested. The newly formed Graduate Student Employees Association voted Tuesday to strike Thursday and Friday in an effort to call attention to the concerns of Temple's 750 graduate teaching and research students. "I, like all other grad workers, am sick and tired of my rights being denied," said fourth-year history graduate student Anthony Newkirk. "We want [Temple president Peter Liacouras] to talk with us and address our concerns. We have poverty-level salaries." TAUP also opposes the university's requirement that teachers pay $260 yearly towards health insurance, which Temple officials said costs more than $4000 per person per year. TAUP President Arthur Hochner charged that the co-payment was part of a "master plan" to force teachers to use Temple University Hospital, which is having financial problems. Temple University officials could not be reached for comment. Seniors said Tuesday that they were concerned that the strike would force officials to cancel the semester. Senior Journalism major Steven Donahue said that he will ask for his money back if the strike is not settled, but above all wants to finish his undergraduate work. "I just want to get the hell out of here," he said. TAUP's Hochner said that if the strike is not settled by September 14, students can get a refund. Some students joined picket lines and helped hand out fliers about the strike. "Quality of education should be the main issue," said freshman Edward Sturdivant, whose Law and Society professor showed up for his 8:40 a.m. class. Hochner said the strike will be settled before the semester is canceled because if it is not, "the president wouldn't get his salary."Comments powered by Disqus
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