Temple University professors will return to their classrooms today after voting by a slim margin yesterday to obey a Philadelphia judge who ordered them back to work. After an almost month-long strike, which began on the first day of classes, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Samuel Lehrer issued an injunction yesterday ordering professors back to class. The teachers' union met yesterday and decided to adhere to the injunction, although leaders said they plan to appeal. Some professors leaving the meeting, held in a North Philadelphia church, reported that the vote was 200 to 199 in favor of ending the strike. About 1500 students have already withdrawn from Temple, including 281 who received tuition refunds as of Monday. Judge Lehrer issued the order to striking faculty members, saying the walkout had damaged education for about 29,000 students and also harmed the public. Temple Association of University Professionals President Arthur Hochner, whose union represents the 1100 teachers, librarians and other academic professionals, said the judge "made the wrong decision." Judge Lehrer directed the union officers, who were defendants in the case, "to make no statements or encourage any person to violate this order," adding he "expected the defendants to comply." The strike began on September 4 after TAUP members turned down a contract offer that provided a five percent pay increase over two to three years and required faculty members to pay $260 for their health insurance. The union rejected the administration's most recent offer for a five percent salary hike in a four-year contract Sunday. That offer retained the request that teachers contribute $260 a year toward health insurance. Since the strike began, students have been protesting almost every day. TAUP leaders said that about 70 percent of classes did not meet. Hundreds of students participated in sit-ins which blocked traffic on North Broad Street. Twenty-six students were arrested two weeks ago for blocking traffic on the campus' main thoroughfare. Several University graduate students will go to Temple today to participate in a rally of faculty and graduate and undergraduate students which will be held at noon, according to Lynne Snyder, a member of the Graduate Student Associations Council Executive Committee. Temple's graduate students went on strike for two days during the first week of the faculty strike, and many members still walk the picket lines with the faculty and do not attend classes. Last Thursday Temple graduate students held a teach-in. At today's rally, which will take place at the Bell Tower -- the center of the Temple campus -- there will be a large coffin into which education will be "buried," said Elizabeth Hunt, GSAC vice president for administration. "I think it is important to show support for the graduate students and faculty at Temple," Hunt said. "It is a friendly way to say we recognize you are getting a raw deal." The Associated Press contributed to this story.Comments powered by Disqus
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