Back on November 6, 2008, this blog reported that Torontos York University had cancelled all classes for approximately 50,000 students due to a strike involving teaching assistants and contract faculty members. Today, nearly three months later, York students are finally back in class.
Emotions are high at York University today as students are returning to school after a layoff from class the equivalent of a summer vacation. Getting assimilated back into the mode of academic study will be a difficult task for many.
“I feel its bittersweet”, says Environmental Studies student, Mark Duke-Hogan who shared this thoughts with Synergy as he returned to school this morning. “Being used to not going to school for so long made waking up today a bit tough. Its like the first day of school all over again. I am motivated, however, as my grades have been good.
But maintaining the momentum I had to allocating my time towards my schoolwork will be tough”.
“Im worried about my assignments” says first-year Theatre student, Joella Crichton, “Im nervous about how fast Im going to have to get them in. There is only two weeks left for what is considered the first semester”.
Furthermore, the potential for yet another near future strike at York U. appears imminent as this strike was ended by the Ontario government who issued a back-to-work legislation last week. As a result, no new contract was settled and it is now to be resolved through arbitration. York Universitys president Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri admits the relationship between the university and CUPE Local 3903 is still in need of major repair. Not to mention the damaged rapport between York and its students.
“We have a lot of work to do in repairing some of the relationships in the York community” says Shoukri in a statement from Yorks website, “We will begin now to rebuild bridges. We are committed to working with the community to resolve these problems. There are no winners in this situation”.
Even with classes starting up again, Yorks students have certainly been placed in a difficult situation. “Although Im happy to get back to class” explains Crichton, “Im disappointed that the school year will have to go further into the summer which will affect how much money Ill be able to make during the summer to pay for school next year”.
Yorks fall curriculum is scheduled to end February 19th while the winter term begins March 4th and ends on May 21st. The summer session is set to start June 8th.
“I dont even want to talk about the strike anymore”, says Duke-Hogan with a laugh, “I just want to get back to work”.