Skip to main content

Students march in support of faculty as University of Lethbridge contract negotiations continue

A few hundred students and faculty members braved the wind on Sunday to stand in solidarity and support amid ongoing contract negotiations between faculty members and the University of Lethbridge. A few hundred students and faculty members braved the wind on Sunday to stand in solidarity and support amid ongoing contract negotiations between faculty members and the University of Lethbridge.
Share

Tensions and emotions are running high at the University of Lethbridge because of the possibility of strike action.

A few hundred students and faculty members braved the wind on Sunday to stand in solidarity and support amid ongoing contract negotiations between faculty members and the University of Lethbridge. Those in attendance say the lack of communication between the university and student's is concerning.

“My concern is for all of the first years and second years that have never experienced campus life, that makes me angry because they don't know what's happening because students are left out of the conversation,” said Amy Mendenhall, a student and co-organizer of the protest.

Faculty members have been without a contract for almost two years.

Students say they are concerned about a possible strike after bargaining reached an impasse nearly two weeks ago.

An unsigned email sent by the university last week also has students on edge. It states if a strike takes place, faculty won't even have access to their emails.

“We’re so frustrated because as students, were the biggest stakeholder here and nobody has asked us, nobody has talked to us, we've been kept out of it,” said Mendenhall.

Students says it's nearly impossible to learn without professors to teach.

“I hope that the board of governors realises that they have nothing without the professors and without the students," said student Kathleen Mah.

"We stand in solidarity with them, not because we're swallow or we're just kind of throwing things out there, but because these are the people that we see everyday, these are the people that support us."

The University of Lethbridge Faculty Association (ULFA) held a rally in November in response to contract deliberations. Students fear they won't be able to finish the semester.

“I want academic freedom addressed, I want things like intellectual property addressed, most importantly I want to see our faculty happy, and they are not happy right now,” said student Angie Nikoleychuk.

ULFA president Dan O'Donnell says he was pleased to see students voicing their concerns and frustration with the U of L.

“The trouble over the past two years has been the administration of the university has tried several times to pit students and faculty and staff against each other and those of us in the leadership of the union and leadership of student groups have known that's not true,” said O’Donnell.

The union and U of L are currently in a two-week cooling off period, O’Donnell says once the period passes on Wednesday, the union can apply for a strike vote under the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

If faculty vote for job action, it could begin as early as next week.

“I’m confident that as the week goes on, we'll certainly see some new contact and I’m hoping some real opportunities to negotiate and get things settled,” said O’Donnell.

Similarly, the university would be able to lock employees out.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Stars roar back to win Game 3 over Oilers

Jason Robertson's hat-trick goal midway through the third period broke a deadlock and proved to be the eventual winner as the Dallas Stars beat the host Edmonton Oilers 5-3 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final to take a 2-1 series lead.

Stay Connected