Employee union, students call for action during COVID-19 pandemic

The+stairs+to+Alkek+Library+sit+unoccupied%2C+Tuesday%2C+March+31%2C+2020%2C+at+Texas+State.+On+a+normal+day%2C+Alkek%27s+stairs+serve+as+the+ultimate+fitness+test+for+students+walking+to+and+from+classes.

The stairs to Alkek Library sit unoccupied, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at Texas State. On a normal day, Alkek's stairs serve as the ultimate fitness test for students walking to and from classes.

Sonia Garcia, Managing Editor

The Texas State Employees Union and students are calling on campus administration and University President Denise Trauth to take action during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving paid sick leave to campus employers, provide a full refund of tuition and closing Alkek.

A press release from organizations Bobcats for Bernie, YDSA @ TXST, College Democrats at Texas State, Interruptions,  USAC, Bobcat Blend Student Organization, NAACP Unit 6875-B, Texas State Horticulture Club, MOVE at Texas State, Texas State Employees Union – CWA Local 6186 and Supporting Women in Political Science are “demanding” the following from the university:

  • Extend paid sick leave for all campus workers until in-person classes resume
  • Provide all essential staff hazard pay for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis
  • Force Chartwells and other private organizations that employ students on campus to provide paid sick leave to workers
  • Ensure that all employees will continue to be compensated, both salaried and hourly, for the remainder of the crisis, including those who were laid off because of COVID-19 and those who are privately contracted
  • Provide students with a full refund for tuition and fees
  • Insist that all ACT housing partners freeze rent, freeze evictions, and offer lease breakages to all residents
  • Require that Wells Fargo suspend student loan payments until Sept. 31 for alumni and students to maintain their partnership with Texas State

The press release states that it is Texas State’s responsibility to take care of their student population. The requests come after students struggle to support tuition costs, navigate virtual learning at home and deal with the loss of jobs.

“Let us be clear: educational institutions have a responsibility to protect and support their students in this dangerous and uncertain time,” the press release states. “Ultimately, it is up to Texas State University to enact these demands immediately to uphold this responsibility.”

Additionally, a posting on the Texas State Employees Union’s website demands that University President Denise Trauth, close Alkek for the health and safety of students.

The posting states the American Library Association called on all libraries to close March 17 and Texas State should do the same. The requests are:

  • Close the library—All staff move to work from home and, if necessary, given the resources to do so from state-allocated emergency funds. Allow library staff to enter on an as-needed basis to pick up personal items or work.
  • No layoffs or furloughs—anyone who cannot work from home, including guards and custodians, should be provided with Emergency Closure paid leave until it is safe for them to return or work from home is possible.

The University Star will continue to update this story as information becomes available. 

The University Star’s COVID-19 coverage can be found here.


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