LIU Brooklyn faculty lockout lifted hours after students protest

UPDATE: A few hours after this report aired, a member of the union representing faculty said the lockout was set to be lifted at midnight. Arthur Kimmel of the executive committee told Fox 5 News that the old, expired contract will be extended through May and a mediator will be called in to facilitate negotiations. Professors and staff will be back on campus Thursday morning.


EARLIER REPORT: School has been in session for nearly two weeks, and this is not what students at LIU Brooklyn thought their college experience would be like.

Hundreds of students on campus staged a walk-out Wednesday to demand the school's approximately 400 locked-out professors and staff come back to work. Samantha Capers says grad school alumni with little or no teaching experience are leading her classes.

"It's really distracting," Capers says. "I just find that classes aren't as meaningful and our department is doing the best they absolutely can, but this is not something that is sustainable, it is not something that can last a long time."

"It's never happened in the history of higher ed so why should it be happening here now?" says Rebecca States, a locked-out professor.

The lockout started when the staff's union contract expired at the end of last month. When a new contract couldn't be negotiated, union rep Arthur Kimmel says this happened: "They blocked our email, obviously we are not getting paid, they stopped help insurance and we are essentially banned from campus."

An LIU spokesperson tells me the school is working to resolve what many students and staff are referring to as a crisis as quickly as possible and that negotiations are continuing this week.

When I asked who is currently teaching classes, that spokesperson said they have temporary professors who were vetted the same way any other staff member would be.