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Why not us? Pres. Cheng got his answer at Southern

December 4, 2021

HAMDEN – Skunkzilla went up once again on Tuesday in front of Buley Library at Southern Connecticut State University.

Faculty and students gathered for CSCU Pres. Cheng’s penultimate town hall in his tour of the system’s colleges and universities. More than 70 faculty members grabbed some coffee and signs Tuesday morning before marching into the ballroom together.

Cheng’s talking points haven’t changed much throughout his tour of the CSUs. He emphasized the need to meet in the middle on the contract proposals, and once again asked a professor if they could change something in their department immediately. (The answer for professors, who fall low on a bureaucratic food chain, is of course, no.)

Following the town hall, faculty and students gathered to listen to speakers, including Sens. Gary Winfield and Jorge Cabrera.

Cabrera spoke about how the state has money to spend, so the question is about priorities.

“What’s happening here is simply unacceptable,” he said to the dozens of students in the crowd. “Your education is important.”

Sydney King, a senior at SCSU studying anthropology, learned more about the faculty’s fight for a fair contract this year after seeing her professors wear their red union shirts every Thursday.

In her view, the contract proposals from the Board of Regents undermine what the universities stand for. She worries about removing the limit on class sizes, and says her professors should be paid more for their work, not less.

Kathleen Skoczen, a professor of anthropology at SCSU, said this is a social justice issue.

“This contract is really attacking the classroom,” she said.

Other professors echoed similar sentiments. Pina Palma, a professor of world languages and literature, said the repercussions for students if the Regents’ proposal becomes reality are “unthinkable.”

“Our students are not class B citizens,” Palma said.

More photos available upon request.


CSU-AAUP represents more than 3,000 faculty, coaches, trainers, counselors, and librarians at the four Connecticut State Universities. CSU-AAUP believes quality public higher education should be made affordable and accessible to all individuals who want to pursue a degree at an institution of higher learning. We see higher education as an essential roadway to developing students’ abilities to think critically and become more engaged citizens of their communities. Through mentorships and guidance from their professors, students gain exposure to all forms of viewpoints, opinions, and interpretations. These work to move the needle toward acceptance and understanding, which in turn creates well-informed, thoughtful leaders of the future.