To the Editor,
Re: No quick end in sight for university strike, March 15.
As an alumnus of Vancouver Island University, I am disappointed in regards to the recent VIU Faculty Association strike on several different levels.
First, I am appalled that the situation even had to come to a strike. In my opinion, VIUFA’s demand for a no-layoff clause in their contract is not at all unreasonable.
To add to this fairness, VIUFA also took the demand of a pay increase off the bargaining table. With the increase in enrolment (and tuition) and therefore, increase in demand for classes, I think laying professors off would be the most counterproductive thing VIU could do.
I have no doubt that if VIU were to re-examine its budget plans they could find other areas to cut back spending that would not hurt students.
Second, I am indignant with regards to the way VIUFA initiated the strike by using VIU students as leverage. I understand why they needed to strike when they did.
Still, if as part of the reasoning behind the strike they were trying to better student’s academic experience, they forgot that a strike in itself would put the students in a worse situation.
Last, I am unimpressed with the lack of student involvement.
I have spoken to a number of students, some in their last semester, who all seem to be somewhat disgruntled with the situation.
Some are enjoying the time off classes and the extra time they have to work on assignments. However, if the strike doesn’t end soon, there might not have been any point in finishing off that essay.
The university has said depending on how long the strike lasts, it may extend the semester. But, how long can the strike last before extending the semester is no longer an option, before it starts to interfere with exams, and cuts into summer semester and so on?
Will students receive any credit for the nine weeks they’ve completed before the strike began? If not, will VIU be refunding their tuition?
These are all critical questions and students should be pounding on the door of VIU president Ralph Nilson demanding answers.