CFA members, students ‘Ask Jolene’ for fair treatment

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About 40 faculty, students and staff protested March 21 in front of University Hall for more classes and faculty, and new pay contracts for faculty.

Dave Ballard, president of the California Faculty Association, CSUN chapter, met with CSUN president Jolene Koester, along with other university officials, whose office is located in University Hall, to discuss the same issues during the demonstration.

“Shame on you Jolene” was one of several chants heard from CFA members and CSUN students. The crowd also played what the protestors referred to as a game of “Let’s ask Jolene.”

Koester is on a board of CSU presidents that advises CSU negotiators who represent the university system in talks with the CFA. The CFA is currently negotiating with the CSU system over the terms of a new labor contract.

Seneca Scott, CFA staff member, rallied the crowd.

“We are going to be playing a little game with her and make Jolene accountable for her actions in a public place,” Scott said. “She can’t go around campus shaking hands with people and not take responsibility for the situations on this campus. Wherever she goes, we go.”

Students graded Koester’s job performance in different subjects, such as parking on campus, classes and overall performance.

“For me she gets an overall F and I hope she gets fired soon,” said Jon Luskin, senior sociology major and CSUN CFA intern, after being the first student to grade Koester.

While protestors chanted their demands outside of University Hall, Ballard said he and Koester discussed issues such as the loss of teacher health care for certain faculty on campus during summers, a better contract for faculty, less workload for professors.

“I am here to get involved in school,” said Justin Rivas, senior sociology major, who later joined the demonstration. “I have been here for about five years and the school has not changed. They made new buildings and trees, but none to which have helped further my education.”

Protest organizers handed petition forms to passersby. The petition pleaded for Koester to fight for CSUN and inform CSU Chancellor Charles Reed that CSUN needs more aid to provide a quality education and adequate resources to students.

Koester did not come out to address the crowd.

She did, however, accept the petition papers and expressed her appreciation, said John Chandler, CSUN spokesperson.

“I am aware of the CFA’s request ? and basically it is the CFA’s obligation and responsibility to advocate on behalf of their members and to represent their members in the collective bargaining process,” Chandler said. “It is not the president’s role to advocate the CFA’s interest in the collective bargaining process.”

After 40 minutes of protest, Ballard came out of the meeting he had with Koester and said, “I will be damned if I beg. We are here as a collective effort for a new bargain.”

Ballard said some of the issues brought up at the meeting, especially new contract agreements, may never be resolved.

“Ultimately we are people of good character and good faith and good intentions and we want to do the best for this campus, the faculty and the students,” he said.