Youth in Action

S.F. State Teach-In Promotes Student/Faculty Unity


For several months now, the faculty at San Francisco State University has engaged in a contract struggle with the administration over such important issues as “merit” pay, the increasing use of part -time professors, working conditions, and the move to do away with tenure.

While obviously all of these issues are ones that are of utmost importance to any professor, many faculty members were unsure how much, if at all, their students would support them in the struggle over these issues.

Any such fears, however, were put to rest after the faculty/student teach-in that was held on campus on April 28. The teach-in was intended to explain the issues facing the faculty to their students and to ask for their support.

How did the students respond? In a theater that seated 700, as many as 900 students crammed in to show their support for the faculty union! In fact, during the course of the two-and-a-half-hour teach-in, this observer estimates that a total of 1300 students attended all or part of the teach-in, making it one of the biggest political events at SFSU in years!

For weeks leading up to the teach-in, student supporters, especially the campus chapter of Students for Socialist Action, plastered the university with hundreds of posters, and distributed over 4000 flyers.

Students enthusiastically responded by taking flyers to pass out themselves, and took buttons expressing the need for faculty/student unity, recognizing that the working conditions for the faculty equaled learning conditions for the students.

At the teach-in, the amount of union consciousness among the students impressed everyone. Every time the words “solidarity,” “union,” and “faculty/student unity” were mentioned, they were answered with applause.

Ali Bruce-a SFSU student, Teamster member, and the speaker for Students for Socialist Action-received loud applause when, after talking about the UPS strike in 1997 and the possibility of a faculty strike at SFSU, he remarked that “Teamsters don’t cross picket lines!”

We in Students for Socialist Action are proud of the role we played in helping build the April 28 teach-in, and would like to congratulate Prof. Ann Robertson-who played the leading role in organizing the event-and all of the other faculty, staff, and students who played a part in sending such a loud and clear message to the administration that we stand united in supporting our faculty!

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