ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The first day of classes at Oakland University in suburban Detroit started Thursday, Sept. 2, with a strike by professors.

“Oakland is using the pandemic as a pretext to cut faculty compensation and exert control over academic programs. … The money is there to fairly compensate faculty,” union president Karen Miller said.

READ MORE: Meet These Two Bear Cubs Who Have Become Inseparable At The Detroit Zoo

The union represents more than 800 people at Oakland. Members stood along streets with signs that said, “For A Better OU.”

The university said it regrets the strike but also urged students to report to classrooms and wait 15 minutes to see if an instructor would appear.

READ MORE: Delta Wants Other Airlines To Share ‘No-Fly’ Lists To Help Stop Unruly Passengers

“The university’s negotiating team urges faculty to teach and requests that non-faculty employees urge faculty to do the same,” Oakland said.

The university had 15,000 undergraduate students and 3,400 graduate students a year ago.

MORE NEWS: Veteran Needs Help With Home Repairs

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.