The shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked protests and riots in the city. But the first action that came to mind to multiple professors was to stage a strike to protest in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Inside Higher Ed reported that the strike was the idea of Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Seeing both the NBA and WNBA strike and not play games for a day in the name of social justice, Butler tweeted the thought that she “would be down as a professor” to “Strike for a few days to protest police violence in America.”
Other academics joined the social media conversation and they came up with the #ScholarStrike hashtag for the upcoming strike from September 8 to September 9. The group of protesting professors claimed that they have about 600 academics who agreed to participate in the strike.
With many colleges and universities using virtual, online learning, the strike will pause work for two days and feature a “public teach-in on police brutality, racism, white supremacy, and other issues.” There are no details of how the teach-in will be streamed and which social media platform the strike will utilize. Those who plan on participating, but have no-strike clauses in their contracts, can “minimize their uncompensated labor” to avoid repercussions (i.e. firing).
Though the intentions of the strike could be noble, it is a disservice for students if their professors go on strike for two instruction days. The students should receive compensation for the strike in some fashion, especially since many students are paying high tuition fees for virtual and online classes.