RISD Faculty Calls Off Strike Upon Settling of Major Issues

Students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) returned to classes from spring vacation yesterday, after negotiations between the faculty and administration averted yesterday's planned faculty strike.

Robert Jungles, president of the Faculty Association, said last night the faculty called off the strike yesterday at 3 a.m., after 18 hours of negotiation resulted in an agreement on the two most controversial issues of tenure and wages.

"Even though there are more than 20 other issues to be discussed, we took the settling of these two as an indication of good faith bargaining," Jungles said.

RISD president Lee Hall was unavailable for comment last night. Until this time RISD faculty have held no contracts. The new tenure program will allow for one-, three-and five-year contracts, with the possibility of permanent appointment after the five-year period, subject to peer review and administrative approval.

Over the new year, Jungles said, faculty doing the same work will be assured equal pay. He added that previously there have been large inequities in faculty wages, with women among those on the lower end of the pay scale. Yesterday's agreement provides for a 7-per-cent pay raise for all faculty next year.


After over a year's controversy between faculty and administration, RISD students held a week-long boycott of classes two weeks ago.

The students did not support either side, but were representing their own interests in getting the issues settled, Shaun B. Curran, a member of the ad-hoc students' strike committee, said on the first day of the boycott.

The students demanded a resolution to the controversy within two-weeks, calling the conflict "detrimental to our education." The faculty union vote overwhelmingly to strike if progress in negotiations had not been made by the end of the student boycott.

Curran said last night the negotiations continued every other day throughout the student boycott and spring break, with the faculty and administration reporting periodically to the student body.

Hall issued a memo to students Sunday, advising them of their options in the event of a faculty strike the following day. He said students could:

* Attend classes taught by new replacement faculty provided by the administration;

* Arrange with their division chairmen to receive credit for independent study projects during the strike;

* Receive half-credit for courses in progress, leave the college in good standing, and reapply in the future.

The three options represented a reversal of the administration's former plan to fail students missing more than three classes during a faculty strike.

Curran said the administration has started to respect the student role as a result of our boycott."

He added that the boycott averted an immediate faculty strike two weeks ago, and aided in averting yesterday's strike. "I gave both sides time to make progress, sit down and talk as they hadn't done before."

Jungles said the student action was at least as influential in settling negotiations as was the threat of a faculty strike.

The union will meet again with the administration April 25 to settle remaining issues.

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