Temple University senior Don McNutt finally started work on his last few credits yesterday morning in an atmosphere tainted by uncertainty and anxiety, as most of his school's faculty began teaching after a month-long strike. As the first day of classes began on their North Philadelphia campus, McNutt and many of his fellow students said they were worried about how they will be able to complete their classwork in a semester postponed four weeks by the faculty strike. Temple's teachers' union estimated that about 70 percent of classes had not met since the strike began September 4 -- the scheduled first day of school. As McNutt sat on steps near the Bell Tower at the heart of campus -- the focal point of many strike-related rallies -- he said that he suffers from "Orwellian double-think." He wants to receive his English degree in January as planned, but he also said he would make "serious sacrifices" because he believes that the teachers have a right to strike. Temple faculty went back to work after a Common Pleas Court judge issued an injunction Monday requiring them to end the strike, which was called to demand better salaries and benefits. Teachers voted Monday night to adhere to the order, but their union has appealed the judge's decision. Picketers, who have manned posts throughout Temple's campus, were noticeably absent yesterday. But the lounge in Sullivan Hall, the building which houses Temple President Peter Liacouras' office, was still strewn with the sleeping bags of students who have slept there for several weeks in support of their teachers. Temple's administration now faces a dilemma about how students will make up the classes they missed in September. Some students would prefer to lengthen the semester rather than cram all of the coursework into two and one-half months. But, as second-year freshman Ed Small pointed out, many students work during their winter break to earn money for the following semester. Small said that his professors gave conflicting signals yesterday about the semester length. One said that classes would end on schedule, another that classes would continue into January. Many Temple students are also nervous about the antagonistic relationship between teachers and the Temple administration. James Beaver, a senior history major, said he was afraid that administrators' treatment of the professors would force many of them to quit. "Our diplomas will be worth less than the paper used to wrap McDonald's hamburgers," Beaver said. He said that in one of his classes, which met for the first time yesterday morning, the professor wrote his name, the course title, and "Status: Under court order" on the chalkboard. Jennifer Schoenewald, a freshman majoring in Radio, TV and Film, said that only one of her four scheduled classes met during the strike. She said she thinks that all four will meet this week. Other students reported that all or all but one of their classes were meeting.Comments powered by Disqus
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