UPDATED: 9:45 a.m. ET, March 17, 2020, to include a statement from Howard University.
Members of Howard University‘s faculty have threatened to go on strike over complaints of their working conditions.
During a demonstration Wednesday that saw multiple Howard professors in attendance along with students, some university faculty threatened to execute a strike starting next week if they could not reach an agreement with the university by this Friday.
The tension on campus seems to be stemming from frustration from non-tenured track faculty members who have said that Howard is not doing enough to allow them to be successful at their jobs. The main concerns from the educators center on adequate pay, job stability and appreciation for the work that they do to teach Howard students every single day.
According to interviews that were reported by journalist Chuck Modiano on campus and posted on Twitter, the instructors have sent a proposal to Howard’s administration that was also signed by tenured track professors in conjunction with the non-tenured track professors.
A few of the supporters at the demonstration said that Howard was not negotiating in good faith with the educators and that a huge aspect of the institutional dysfunction was falling on these professors and they are being asked to pick the pieces up.
The faculty members said they would begin their strike on March 23 if their ultimatum is not met.
Howard told NewsOne in an email that it has made efforts to improve conditions for faculty such as providing pay raises to non-union faculty, investing tens of millions into the faculty retiree plan and avoiding group layoffs during the pandemic.
“Throughout our negotiations with the Howard Teaching Faculty Union, we have remained diligent in our engagements with Union representation and consistent in our efforts to reach an agreement,” Howard said in a statement. “Our commitment to a peaceful bargaining process has not changed and we will continue advancing good faith efforts to reach an agreement with the Union and address the needs of adjunct and non-tenure track faculty.”
It has been a controversial academic year for Howard, to say the least. The school made national headlines in the fall after students protested for around a month to bring attention to faulty living conditions on campus as well as other grievances.
The standoff between the students and the administration ended after a confidential agreement was reached between the two parties.
“While the specific terms of the agreement are confidential, it can be said without any hesitation or reservation that the students courageously journeyed on a path towards greater university accountability and transparency and public safety,” Donald Temple, a lawyer representing the students, said at a news conference at the time according to NBC News. “And this agreement marks a meeting of the minds between them regarding the issues of concern.”
Howard’s NAACP chapter president, Channing Hill, also spoke on the subject.
“We got what we came for. We got increased scrutiny,” Hill said at the time. “We got increased transparency and increased accountability. And by virtue of this protest, we garnered everything that we were entitled to.”
Only time will tell if Howard’s faculty and the administration can also reach an agreement that will settle the university’s latest controversy in the next few days.