Volume 94, Issue 37

Friday, November 3, 2000


Schools scrutinize codes of conduct

Unruly student houses raise a stink

Ombuds office gives annual report card

Case closes on elections skirmish

Parliament Hill turns into Beverly Hills 90210

Memoial University still a ghost town

Memoial University still a ghost town

By Anne Sagar
Gazette Staff

Newfoundland's Memorial University is a ghost town since a faculty strike began this past Tuesday.

Jack Strawbridge, the university's media relations officer, said classes have been cancelled indefinitely and there is no end in sight. The strike has left 16,000 students out of classes since Tuesday. The major issues still in dispute are fairness of the overall faculty pay structure and workload, he said.

The administration has offered the faculty's union, Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association, a four-point plan that would increase salaries, Strawbridge said.

The plan calls for a 22 per cent raise over three years to faculty members holding a PhD, while all other faculty would receive a 14 per cent increase during same time span, he said.

Strawbridge said the plan does not extend to librarians, as they are already paid above the national average. By way of comparison, he said provincial employees in Newfoundland only got a seven per cent pay raise this year, after a seven year wage freeze.

Tony Chadwick, a strike service organizer with MUNFA, said the strike is principally about fairness. " [The administration is] discriminating against those who do not have a doctorate," he explained. The issue is the way the raises will be distributed. The union is seeking a more equitable settlement that does not discriminate against non-tenured staff and those close to retirement.

"Administration is making it a single issue of salaries," Chadwick said, adding, in fact, more pay equity among faculty members is also a major concern of the union.

Liam Walsh, a member of Memorial University's Student Union, said so far, the MSU has not taken sides in the strike. "[We are taking] a pro-student stand and so have not come out in support of either side," he said.

The Student Union is upset the administration unilaterally changed the dates of the three-day mid-winter break, he said. The break from classes was originally scheduled to run from Nov. 15-17, but was moved up Wednesday of this week, in order to minimize the strike's impact on classes.

Walsh said many students made plans for the break and will now have to alter those to the revised scheduling.

Strawbridge said the change was made in the best interests of students, explaining only one day of classes has so far been lost.

He added the university has offered to re-imburse students for the cost of travel arrangements they have made but cannot use, due to the change in schedule. "Yesterday, the university gave out $11,000 to students," he said.

But Chadwick said the university is only giving refunds on a case-by-case basis and the refunds were started only after the Student Union complained.

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