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‘It definitely adds to the stress’: U of L students weigh in on faculty’s decision to strike

The University of Lethbridge The University of Lethbridge

University of Lethbridge faculty have voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike due to labour negotiations with the university’s board of governors. If a deal is not reached soon, staff members can hit the picket lines as early as 11 a.m. on Thursday.

From finding out their classes would be held online until late February, to now learning their teachers would be going on strike, 2022 has not been easy so far for students at the U of L, but many say they support their teachers.

"I totally understand why they’re doing this," said kinesiology student Renee Arsenault.

"It’s frustrating whenthe semester is already online and we've had to deal with changing back to that, and then we're supposed to go back to in person, but again, who knows?There’s already a lot up in the air, so it definitely adds to the stress."

"Our professors are the ones who are supporting us the most, and so I think it’s only fair for us to stand with our profs in all of it," explained student Dayna Bruner.

"So, for as much as it inconveniences me with the semester and the fact that classes could go online, I still support the profs and their decision."

The collective agreement for instructors at the university expired 587 days ago. The U of L’s Faculty Association and the school's board have not been able to come to an agreement since, with several key issues still standing in the way.

"We call the three things equity, parity and respect," said U of L Faculty Association president Dan O’Donnell.

"I think more than anything, it’s the lack of respect (that) has produced this overwhelming vote in favour of a strike if that turns out to be necessary."

The U of L’s Students’ Union president says the decision could hurt students, and also stated it’s a direct result of the provincial government’s cuts to post-secondary schools.

"The effects of those cuts were felt very, very harshly by students in the form of seven per cent tuition increases, as well as the deterioration of the student experience, but now were seeing the effect move onto professors," Holly Kletke said.

"It’s really a shame to see the students become collateral damage in this impasse of the negotiation process, but we hope for a swift and mutually agreed upon resolution."

In a statement issued on Monday, the university said "a strike will halt all academic instruction and research activities and profoundly impact our students, employees, families, and community. Students will have no classes or academic supervision during a strike."

The board goes on to say they are continuing to work to avoid a strike but have submitted an application to delay the onset of any strike action.    Top Stories

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