Students at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus walked out of classes again Wednesday in support of faculty members who have been locked out by the college’s administrators for nearly two weeks over a labor dispute.
At about 2:30 p.m., 30 to 40 faculty members stood outside the campus gates on Flatbush Avenue in downtown Brooklyn and shouted, “Let us teach!” A group of students on the other side of the gates replied, “Let us learn!”
Half an hour later, the students, holding signs — including one that said “Students deserve the best educators” — walked off campus and joined their professors for a rally, calling on the university’s president, Kimberly R. Cline, to let the unionized faculty return to work.
”I hope this will be resolved by Sept. 20 or I will consider dropping out,” said Raman Kaur, 19, of Brooklyn, a sophomore studying to become a pharmacist.
The university’s decision to lock out its employees came on Sept. 3, four days before the fall semester began.
On Sept. 6, the union — Long Island University Faculty Federation — voted 226-10 to reject the university’s latest contract proposal. The contract expired Aug. 31.
Professors at the Brooklyn campus said they are paid less than their colleagues at the university’s Brookville campus, one of the main issues of contention in contract negotiations.
“The university has always given both campuses the same package,” said Jennifer Solomon, a university spokeswoman. “LIUFF has made allocations decisions in past contracts differently than the union” at LIU POST.
Negotiations between the two sides continued, but no agreement on a new contract was reached as of 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Some of the half-dozen students interviewed Wednesday said they have come to classes since the semester began, but no faculty member showed up to teach.
”I’ve been to classes and there is nobody there at all — no substitute, no staff,” said Jessica Estevez, 24, of Far Rockaway, a graduate student studying to become a speech pathologist. Cline, she said, is “messing with our futures.”
LIU, a private liberal arts college, has its primary campuses in Brooklyn and Brookville, with other branch campuses in Brentwood, Riverhead and the Hudson Valley.
LIU Brooklyn had an enrollment of 8,170 students in fall 2015, according to federal education data, the most recent figures available. The LIU Post campus in Brookville had 8,623 students at that time.
Enrollment numbers for the current fall semester were not available.
With Candice Ferrette