EIU athletics reacts to EIU-UPI strike


Cam'ron Hardy

EIU-UPI had their third day of picketing for a fair contract Monday morning at Old Main.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

The Eastern Illinois athletics department has continued to function normally during Eastern’s chapter of University of Professionals, EIU-UPI, strike. 

The strike is entering its third day and has been happening since last Thursday. Since the strike began, there have been spring soccer matches, tennis matches, softball games, baseball games, and track and field events.  

Athletic director Tom Michael said to The News that the strike does affect the functionality of the athletics department.  

“We are following the guidance provided by the institution regarding class attendance, continued learning and the expectations for all students in our communication without student-athletes.” Michael said. “We will continue to have our athletics events scheduled both here at EIU and four our teams traveling during the strike.” 

The guidance provided by the institution was outlined in an email sent on March 13 by current Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Jay Gatrell. 

Regarding online courses and online elements of a hybrid course, Gatrell said to participate in online activities and complete the coursework as scheduled in the course outline. 

Gatrell also outlined what students should do if they have face-to-face courses and classroom elements of a hybrid course.  

“Attend all scheduled lectures, labs, and studios even if an instructor indicates that the class may not meet during a potential strike.” 

Gatrell also told students to contact the department chair if they have any questions or if their instructor is absent.  

In an email sent on April 5 by University President David Glassman, he also said that students are encouraged to attend all classes, whether face-to-face or online, and to contact the department chair or college dean’s office if an instructor is absent.  

 The News conducted an anonymous survey that was open to all of those involved in the Eastern athletics department. Players, coaches, and employees were encouraged to participate in the survey.  

The first question was “what do you think about the EIU-UPI strike?” and some of the responses were in favor of the strike. 

“It is unfair to everyone involved and affects students’ academics, but it’s a result of unfair treatment to faculty so I am in favor of the strike to get what is deserved.”  

“I support the strike 100% and want all professors to get their well-deserved pay! As a student, it is hard trying to figure out what I am supposed to do during this time other than support, my education is on hold but I’m glad the professors are standing up for themselves.” 

“The strike is necessary. A year and half without a contract is absolutely outrageous. EIU faculty deserves better.” 

The other responses were either not in favor of the strike or not in favor of the guidelines provided by the university.  

“I think it’s good for them and they should get what they are fighting for, however, it’s not fair of the school to require us to continue assignments and exams without the teaching and help of professors.” 

“A waste of time. The students are suffering due to greedy professionals throwing a tantrum. The salaries are not unreasonable and given the lost cost of living in Charleston, they are quite good. The strike is highlighting the lack of commitment the individuals on strike have to the students. My education is being affected because a group believes if they throw enough of a fit, they will get whatever they want.” 

The final question asked in the survey was “do you think that athletics should continue as usual during the strike?” and the responses were overwhelmingly in favor of continuing.  

“This is a dumb question. The strike has nothing to do with athletics LOL. Teachers are on strike, not coaches or athletic admin ….” 

“I believe they should! I know athletes are also affected by this academically, but we might as well keep something going if our education is on hold.” 

“Yes, students should have a sense of normalcy. But I think as student athletes, we are leaders and should show support for EIU faculty.” 

“Yes, we represent the school, we are a team, we are united.” 


Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]