Students concerned as college strike looms

As Ontario college students enter the winter semester, a dark cloud lingers over the future of their academic year.

Full-time college faculty voted 57 per cent in favour of a strike mandate on Jan. 13. Negotiations resumed today after a series of unsuccessful meetings last week. There has been little information disclosed regarding the potential strike or the teachers’ demands.

With memories of the three-month York University strike which ended February 2009 still looming in the minds of many students, the potential of losing their academic year is disconcerting.

Greg Hamara, media relations officer at the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said that any serious academic consequences for students are unlikely.

“The community college faculty have been in a strike position three times previously over the last 40 years and in no cases have the [students’] school year been jeopardized,” Hamara said.

Try telling that to the students enrolled in any of the 24 Ontario colleges who will be out of class should a strike occur.

Tyler Charlebois, director of Advocacy for the College Student Alliance, didn’t share Hamara’s positive outlook on the strike.

“There is no segregation, everyone is mixed, and everyone is in the same boat in having their education put on hold,” Charlebois said.

Charlebois also said that the teacher’s union would ideally aim to strike sometime in late February or early March, as that is the most critical period for students, due to exams and final projects being due around this time, and would give the union the most leverage.

Hamara declined to comment on this.

One comment:

  1. What Mr. Hamara states about serious academic consequences for students are unlikely is absolutely farce. People are getting this idea from OPSEU as a defence to their wrong doings. This strike will have a massive impact on certain students and their future careers if the strike exceeds the semester. Their are programs that provide courses all year round either in class or on-line. But I speak for the students enrolled in trades or professional courses that provide a class once a year. As a student at Seneca College, if the entire semester is lost. I will have to return for the 2011 winter semester to complete my last year. Students who have already found a career placement, begining in May. Have to now let employers know that you will not graduate for another year. This is also means that another semester will have to be paid for as well as a large residence fee for another semester of school. The teachers union makes me sick that adults, some younger than others, can destroy a young adults ability to have an education in this province. We are the future. Not you!

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