A new twist on cramming for exams
By Karena Walter
As Trent University students headed into their long-awaited exams yesterday there was an air of uncertainty as the university is still plagued with many unresolved issues after its recent strike.
It was the first day of a tight exam schedule following a faculty strike at the Peteborough, Ont. university which started on Nov. 18 and ended Dec. 2.
In a Dec. 10 Senate decision, all exams for full-year classes were cancelled and instead mid-terms were to be taken in-class or given out as take-home tests or assignments. An exam schedule for half courses was set for Jan. 13-15 and second term will start Jan. 16.
Some inconvenience has been caused for students enrolled in several half courses with exams squeezed into the three-day schedule. However, the majority of classes at Trent are full-year. "Most people are alright," said Matt Gallinger, president of Trent's Central Student Association.
The school is now faced with a new dilemma of recruitment to fill the spaces left by top administrators who will be retiring their positions this year.
John Syrett, acting dean of arts and science and former chief negotiator for the administration, said there is a certain measure of anxiety and instability at the university as his position, the president and VP-academic will all need to be replaced.
Another issue at the school is the current internal review initiated by the faculty in the summer, before the strike began. The faculty voted to start the internal committee to review changes made in the senior administration and to see whether the current structure serves Trent well.
An external analysis was recently called for by the Board of Governors. It will be conducted by former president of York University, Harry Arthurs and a professor from Wilfrid Laurier University, Joyce Lorimer.
As well, the school was thrown into controversy surrounding its president when a non-unionized group was offered what appeared to be a Christmas bonus in December.
There are three unionized groups on campus faculty, staff and part-time faculty, Syrett said. One non-unionized group made up of secretaries and assistants had not had a raise since 1992. They received $1,000 as a form of compensation.
"Unfortunately, the president suggested it was related to the strike," Syrett said, adding at the end of the strike it seemed fair to give them something. That caused a lot of discomfort at the university, Syrett said.
"There was a great deal of turmoil," said faculty president, John Fekete. Faculty were upset and the administration were contradicting themselves. "It was a mess."