To every student who wished me well, sent me notes of support, you made my very difficult decision easier.
To those of you who brought your teachers water, coffee, and snacks on the line, and even went so far as to walk with your profs on the picket line, I am humbled by your generosity and faith in our cause.
Many of you wrote to your legislators, the governor, and the chancellor, and we know this made a difference.
Some of you traveled to Harrisburg to show your commitment to quality public education, and I am so very, very proud to share that commitment with you.
At one point on Thursday, I passed a family who were touring Kutztown University--a college visit, the sort many of you did just this time last year. I worried that they might see our job action as a reason not to choose KU. My fears were alleviated, though when I overheard a father say to his daughter: "The students clearly support their teachers. That says a lot about this place."
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Some of you politely disagreed with the union's decision to strike. I admire your choice to disagree civilly, to keep the discourse and exchange of ideas respectful. Real democracy means we get to have differences without attacking one another
To the very, very few students who shouted at us, who called me a Communist and a Russian--first, U.S. teachers unions have nothing to do with Communism or Russia. I hope you'll take a course at KU that will provide the context for labor movements in the U.S. There's some thoughtful criticism of unions out there, but, unfortunately, we are also living in a period of a lot of anti-union rhetoric based in half-truths and misplaced anger. I hope that you'll study argument in one of our writing courses, too--you'll learn that one doesn't persuade an audience with angry shouts and rude gestures. Let's arm you with better tools.
More than one angry person on social media accused me of being lazy. Believe me, I was very busy working during the strike. What's more, I will always prefer working out negotiations at the table than on the picket line. Sometimes, though, we need to take a more dramatic stand when the stakes are very high. I am eager to be back at teaching, back to working with you. It's what I love to do.
The support of so many students across Pennsylvania allowed us to return to work so quickly. I hope you'll savor that moment.
You won. Together, we protected quality higher ed. We won.