Three-month strike concludes at York University

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The strike is finally over at York University.

While classes finally resumed on Monday, faculty and students alike are scrambling to make up for lost time.

Professor Dennis Raphael, for example, has had to restructure the marking scheme for his third year social science class.

“I proposed to [the students] to drop the final exam because even I had forgotten the material from the beginning of the year,” Raphael said.

“Their final paper required them to integrate all the material in the textbook, so for me to come along and tell them to drop the exam and do a paper makes no difference for the integrity of the course.”

According to Raphael, many professors have had to reconsider their grading system in order to help their students settle back into the academic schedule.

“What professor Raphael did is actually part of [York’s] Senate guidelines,” Robert Drummond, dean of the Faculty of Arts, said. “[Professors must] come up with a revised grading scheme to accommodate the students.”

The York Federation of Students has come up with its own initiatives to make up for the time lost during the strike.

“We’ve collected about 10,000 petitions as of yesterday,” said Krisna Saravanamuttu, VP-equity of the YFS and organizer of a petition for students to be refunded 12 per cent of their tuition fees.

“I think [students] deserve a refund because the university has failed to live up to its responsibility and to provide a service the students have paid for.”

According to Saravanamuttu, York students deserve to be reimbursed for the 12 per cent of school days that were lost by the strike and are not being made up on the new schedule.

The petition is in response to the major issue now facing York students, who will be making up their school work into June.

“Summer is going to be crazy because most students won’t be able to find jobs in the summer,” Saravanamuttu said. “Students are wondering how they will pay for their tuition next year.”

Though the petition is a starting point to address this issue, Saravanamuttu is concerned about how the university will receive it.

“The biggest obstacle I think is the university’s upfront refusal to offer a refund,” he explained. “They said we pay for our credits, not for our time.”

Though the YFS is fighting to reimburse York’s students for time lost, Saravanamuttu explained students are busy enough just trying to get back on track.

“Students are feeling anxious, because the last three months are being compressed into 13 days,” he said.

“They’re going to be expected to have all of their reading and course material done and then they go straight into exam period, so students are feeling a lot of pressure.”

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