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Dr. Kim gives “presidential update” on potential strike, disruption to semester in video message

Courtesy of Vimeo

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim tried to reassure parents in a video message sent late on Tuesday, Oct. 24 that the college has a plan in place if the part-time faculty vote to authorize a strike this week. 

He shared the same video the next day with students, with slightly different messaging.

“We have learned that the union has announced the possibility of a strike,” Kim said in an email message first sent to Columbia College Chicago families late on Tuesday night. “Naturally, the college would prefer that this be resolved at the bargaining table. However, I want you to know that should a strike occur, we have plans in place to protect the academic progress of our students.” 

What else:

  • “Like many U.S. institutions of higher learning, [Columbia] has experienced a slight decrease in enrollment. To address this, in addition to cost-cutting measures impacting administrative functions, we are consolidating some sections of some courses – usually survey or introductory courses – into larger ones where our academic experts deem advisable,” Kim said.
  • Though the college is working on ensuring long-term financial sustainability, Kim assured families that the college is currently on “solid financial footing.” 
  • The goal by next fall is to give students opportunities to take more elective courses as part of the 120 credits they need to graduate. Courses in English, math, history and science will still be required. 

What he said to students:

  • They will not lose their scholarships. 
  • “There is always a clear pathway to graduation.” 

What’s next:

  • The part time union will decide by Wednesday, Oct. 25 whether or not they will strike. A strike could happen as soon as Thursday. 

Why this is happening: 

  • The union is in the midst of increasingly contentious contract negotiations with the college and has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board over cost-cutting measures that college is considering to close a $20 million deficit. 

Spanish Digest: 

El Presidente y Director General Kwang-Wu Kim trató de asegurar a los papás en un mensaje de video enviado el martes 24 de octubre por la tarde. En el video salió diciendo que el colegio tiene un plan en marcha si los profesores a tiempo parcial votan para autorizar una huelga esta semana. 

Él mandó el mismo video a los estudiantes al día siguiente, con mensajes ligeramente diferentes. 

“Hemos aprendido que el sindicato ha anunciado la posibilidad de una huelga”, dijo Kim en un correo electrónico que mandó a los familiares el martes. “Por supuesto, el colegio prefiere que esto se resuelva en la mesa de negociación. Sin embargo, yo quiero que todos ustedes sepan que si ocurre una huelga, nosotros tenemos planes para proteger el progreso académico de nuestros estudiantes”. 

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About the Contributor
Kimberly Vazquez
Kimberly Vazquez, Former Managing Editor
kvazquez@columbiachronicle.com   Kimberly Vazquez is a senior creative writing major, minoring in graphic design. Vazquez has written and edited the Chronicle's Spanish language articles, and arts and culture news. She worked for the Chronicle in January 2023 through December 2023.   Hometown: Laredo, Tex.