Dalhousie faculty strike possible deal
By Caroline Greene
A six-day strike by faculty members at Dalhousie University may be over after a tentative agreement was reached yesterday between the school's administration and faculty association.
The agreement came after a large rally of over 600 people, including 100 students, was held yesterday by the association, said faculty spokesperson Andy Wainwright.
The Dalhousie faculty association executives were supposed to decide last night to recommend the tentative agreement to the union who will vote on it this morning, he added.
The two outstanding issues for the faculty involve seeking salaries comparable to other universities of similar size and guaranteed position replacement when faculty retire or quit, to prevent loss of staff, Wainwright explained.
University spokesperson Michelle Gallant said specific details of the agreement will not be released until after the faculty association communicates with its membership.
If the faculty ratifies the agreement, Dalhousie's 13,000 students would return to classes, Gallant said. School could resume as early as today and the examination schedule would remain unchanged with classes ending April 9, she added.
Students have experienced a significant amount of frustration over the strike, said Dalhousie Student Union President Christopher Adams. "Knowing the strike is close to an end, students feel optimistic and relieved."
In a press release yesterday, university President Tom Traves stated "the strike was about money we don't have."
But it's money that students are also asking for. On Monday of this week, 20 Dalhousie students filed lawsuits against the university and faculty association president Ismet Ugursal for missed class time. "These suits will continue regardless of the tentative agreement," said fourth-year student Brian Kellow.
Kellow is one of the students in small-claims court for amounts ranging from $50 to $200 in lost tuition fees.
The lawsuits will force faculty and administration to respond to student concerns which have not been addressed yet by either party, Kellow said.
The increases to faculty salaries will also come at the expense of students in terms of tuition which is projected to rise 24 per cent in the next two years at Dalhousie, he added. Students there currently pay the highest tuition in the country at approximately $5,000 per year.