Think of the stu­dents

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - AN­GELA DORIE

The strike by fac­ulty at On­tario’s colleges, lo­cally St. Lawrence Col­lege (SLC), is now in its fifth week.

The only pos­i­tive ac­tion since mid­night on Oct. 15 came last week, when ad­min­is­tra­tors forced a vote on their lat­est of­fer, a vote the union did not want. Ob­vi­ously it has lit­tle faith in its mem­bers re­ject­ing it.

The mem­bers have been on the picket line for five weeks al­though, ac­cord­ing to a friend who is very re­luc­tantly walk­ing it, fewer than 10 per cent of the staff here in Corn­wall sup­ported it. The union backed by their big-city brethren are the ones forc­ing the is­sue, not those here.

The strik­ers have been with­out a nor­mal pay­cheque for over a month. Sav­ings have gone, credit card bal­ances are ris­ing, bills are due and union strike pay doesn’t go far. Get­ting back to work sounds good.

Ac­cept­ing the lat­est mone­tary in­crease of­fer, which is ex­ceed­ingly close to the union de­mands, it would still take months, even years, to re­coup what has been lost the past over the past five weeks. Con­trary to union speak, in this day and age, a long strike sel­dom ben­e­fits the work­ers.

Hir­ing all the part-time/con­tract profs as full-time staff mem­bers with the as­so­ci­ated ex­tra pay and ben­e­fits is just a pipe dream. If you are a part-timer, look at the guy or gal next to you. One of you will not have a job if it is done. Hope it isn’t you.

Fi­nan­cially, it would raise the tu­ition costs to cover the costs.

The course cur­ric­ula are fairly the same at ev­ery col­lege for a rea­son. No mat­ter which in­sti­tu­tion you at­tend and grad­u­ate from, every­one with the same cer­tifi­cate and/or diploma has had the same ed­u­ca­tion and car­ries the same knowl­edge.

Plus, for those go­ing on into univer­sity cour­ses, they all have the same abil­ity to smoothly make the tran­si­tion re­gard­less of which col­lege they at­tended. Al­low too much in­di­vid­ual mess­ing of the cur­ricu­lum and things change and it is the stu­dents who will pay.

I truly be­lieve SLC staff mem­bers care about their stu­dents. The union? Not so much as it tends to be self-serv­ing and en­joys throw­ing its weight around. The ones pay­ing for this strike are your stu­dents.

Al­go­nquin Col­lege has al­ready an­nounced the loss of the fall read­ing week and a short­ened Christ­mas break in an at­tempt to rec­tify the dam­age done.

Stu­dents will be forced to dou­ble up on learn­ing and as­sign­ments over the re­main­der of this se­mes­ter.

For those work­ing with a sec­ondary school ed­u­ca­tion, most will han­dle it but be ex­hausted and drained of en­thu­si­asm come Jan­uary. For those al­ready strug­gling with the work load, it might prob­a­bly be too late and they will aban­don their stud­ies ei­ther for this se­mes­ter or for­ever.

Even if the vote is to re­turn to work, it won’t be un­til next week. Ei­ther way, all present and fu­ture stu­dents have lost. Fees for ev­ery­thing will rise as the ad­min­is­tra­tions at­tempt to cover the ex­tra costs in­volved with ap­peas­ing the union.

For those stu­dents of in­de­pen­dent means or from well-off fam­i­lies, it is no big deal and many ac­tu­ally find it ex­hil­a­rat­ing to be part of this demo­cratic process (fu­ture union lead­ers maybe?).

For those who have to work or take loans to fund their self-bet­ter­ment, it would be dev­as­tat­ing. Many with good marks who rely on grants and bur­saries to re­duce their aca­demic fees will be strug­gling to reach the stan­dards re­quired for them.

Today, to­mor­row and Thurs­day we will find out who re­ally cares for the stu­dents. The vast ma­jor­ity of those on the picket lines are not there be­cause they want to be but be­cause they are forced to do so.

The stu­dents are count­ing on you to be ex­am­ples of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and car­ing and vote the right way— for them and their fu­ture ca­reers.

ALAN S. HALE/CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Strik­ing St. Lawrence Col­lege fac­ulty mem­bers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Corn­wall and District Labour Coun­cil picket on Sec­ond Street out­side of MPP Jim McDonell's of­fice on Nov. 3.

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