CHICAGO –In response to the ongoing faculty strike at Chicago State University (CSU), state Rep. Nick Smith, D-Chicago, issued a statement in a show of solidarity with striking faculty, staff and students.

“As a graduate of Chicago State University, I stand proudly with the students and faculty that have stood up to demand a fair contract and smaller class sizes,” said Smith. “I know firsthand the amazing work and impact that my fellow Cougars put out every day. They deserve nothing less than what they are asking for.”

The Chicago State University chapter of the University Professionals of Illinois (CSU-UPI) began their general strike last week on April 3. Dispute managers from the federal Department of Labor (DoL) oversaw negotiations between administration and staff, with all but a few of the union’s demands still unmet. As the strike enters it second week, Rep. Smith urges an amicable resolution for all parties involved.

The South Side school has been met with a myriad of challenges in recent years including the ousting of a former university president due to ethical challenges, financial challenges that threatened the school’s existence in 2016 and declining enrollment figures that the administration says is partially responsible for the school’s financial challenges. Data shows that CSU faculty are paid about ten percent below the state average for higher education professionals at other universities. In addition, faculty and students have complained about large class sizes and a lack of leave for expecting parents.

“What we are seeing here at Chicago State, Governor’s State and other universities around the country is the culmination of decades of disregard for and disinvestment in our public institutions of higher learning. We cannot allow these trends to continue here at CSU,” said Smith “Instead, we must be bold and ensure our students and the staff that teach them get everything they deserve to be successful. While it might be difficult, I am hopeful that the administration, faculty and staff will be able to reach a substantial agreement soon.”

Rep. Nicholas SmithRep. Nicholas Smith

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