Unionized faculty, students at OIT rally for fair contract

Education

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Unionized faculty at the Oregon Institute of Technology rallied for a fair contract Friday. They were joined by 50 Oregon Tech students who held a sit-in at the university’s administrative building in Klamath Falls.

Classes have been disrupted for the past five days amid the faculty strike, which came out after more than a year of negotiations over fair wages, secure benefits and a clearly defined workload.

“That manner of communication, that lack of transparency with students has been a consistent pattern, and it’s … one of the reasons I fully support our faculty because that’s one of their biggest complaints is lack of transparency from upper administration,” said OIT student Shiloh Castelli.

Associate professor Kari Lundgren said the school’s own policies were being ignored without any options for recourse from affected faculty.

“We have a harder time recruiting new faculty and we have lost faculty because they’re frustrated, they’re burnt out, they’re demoralized, and you’ve got good people,” she said. “Civil engineering has lost a third of their faculty and that’s one of our hallmark programs.”

While OIT administrators did not respond to requests for comment on Friday’s events, the university did release a statement to KOIN 6 News about the ongoing negoitions.

“Oregon Tech believes its salary offer … is an excellent offer,” the statement read.

University officials also said that their workload expectations are in line with other universities.

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