An update on the college strike Classes still on hold as the strike enters its fourth week

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By: Donna Nadeem

Almost four weeks into the faculty and staff strike at Ontario’s 24 public colleges and McMaster students whose programs are conjoined with Mohawk College are beginning to wonder how they will make up for all the missed class.

Since Oct. 16 students in McMaster’s nursing, Bachelor of Technology, medical and radiation sciences, specific social science classes, have all had clinical placements and labs put on hold. As Nov. begins, students in these programs have been unsure of what was going to happen with their classes.

Negotiations were first being held since the strike began on Oct. 15. The most recent negotiation was on Nov. 3, between the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union, which represents the 12,000 striking college workers, and the College Employer Council, which represents the province’s colleges. As the strike continues, students have been updated via email.

The average tuition of a full-time student is $5,000 for two 13-week semesters which means that a students tuition divided throughout the year is closely equivalent to paying $40 a day. Students are concerned that they are losing out.

McMaster maintains they have worked to minimize the strike’s effects on McMaster students.

“We are supposed to be conducting our own research as a practicum and we can’t do that so we’re all kind of wondering how those hours will be made up later on.”

 

Camille Ramsperger
Nursing student

“Since the strike started, classes, labs, tutorials and clinical placements delivered by McMaster employees at McMaster locations have continued. Access to the Main Street campus has not been impacted by pickets and the classes led by McMaster faculty in our sites have continued,” said Gord Arbeau, a representative from the university in a press release statement.

Nevertheless, Ella Han a second-year medical radiation sciences student has had all of her midterms postponed and her classes have been cancelled because all her professors are from Mohawk college. Other than her elective, all her medical radiation-related courses are on hold.

“They sometimes send us emails and in the first one they said that we aren’t going to miss a semester or redo anything, but then the second one we got was that if the strike lasted more than three weeks our exams would be moved to January, and we got one a couple days ago saying that we might need to do night classes and class on weekends to catch up and that exams might not be pushed. So I think they don’t really have a plan for us at the moment,” said Han.

Camille Ramsperger is in the last year of her nursing program and is missing out on a research course because of the strike. She is concerned because the strike happened before they were allowed to pick their topics and figure out where they would be doing their research and with whom.

“So far in the course I have done nothing worth marks, so at the present I have zero per cent [in the course],” Ramsperger said. “We even missed our midterm. We are supposed to be conducting our own research as a practicum and we can’t do that so we’re all kind of wondering how those hours will be made up later on.”

Mohawk College has pushed back the end date for its fall semester. If the strike ends by Nov. 11, classes and final exams will continue up to Dec. 22. Originally, classes and final exams were scheduled to end by Dec. 15.

If the strike extends beyond Nov. 11, classes will continue through to Dec. 22 and final exams will be held in early January. Students have been told they should now expect to be attending school during the week of Dec. 18 to 22 and that the completion of the semester may require them to attend evening and weekend classes.

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