The 2017 Ontario College Strike

I would argue that you are familiar with the strike that is currently happening across Ontario colleges. The strike began last Sunday evening, and no resolution in regards to the strike has been achieved as of yet. I am currently off for the week due to my college’s scheduled reading week, however, there is talk that this strike will continue for more weeks to come, and myself and other college students in the province were unable to attend classes last week.

The reasoning behind this strike involves the union representing striking staff and faculty demanding more full-time positions and an increased role in academic decision-making. Their demands also include the number of full-time faculties to match the number of faculty members on contract, and further for improvements in job security and for faculty to have a more influential position in academic decision making.

While I support the striking part-time staff in their reasoning for protesting, I find it incredibly bothersome that the individuals who are most impacted by any sort of academic strike are the students. We as students are unable to participate in the bargaining pertaining to the conflict at hand, yet we are forced to miss classes and lose money in the process. Apart from losing money from the college itself, I personally am losing money regarding the rent I pay for my student home as I am not there during the strike, as are thousands of other students across the college. There has been a discussion of extending the school year into May or June of next year, depending on how long the strike lasts, yet this will hinder students in their ability to enter the workforce following their completion of the studies. This will also hinder students who do not live ‘at-home’ while studying, as they will have to extend their rental leases (if they are even able to). There are also thousands of international students studying at Ontario colleges, these individuals paying significantly more in tuition fees than national students – how will they be reimbursed for their financial losses?

As I said, I understand why the strike is occurring, and while I support the part-time college faculty in their protesting, I am extremely angry about how severely myself and other students are being impacted by this strike.

A petition has been developed for students to sign who feel as though they should be refunded $30.00 for each day of classes missed during the strike. I signed it, and if you wish to as well, find the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/college-employer-council-students-demand-a-tuition-refund-for-each-day-missed-in-case-of-an-ontario-college-strike

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