York Strike Needs To End

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

January 9, 2009 Ed Cartoon

A dispute between teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty against the administration of York University has been ongoing for over two months. There is no end in sight to the faculty strike and it is clear who is losing this battle â€" the students.

With last semester a complete write-off, York students deserve an answer soon as to what will happen next. Many students expected to graduate in April and move on to graduate school or a career, but the prolonged strike has left them worrying about the future.

The government would be wise to step in quickly to help York salvage what is left of the school year. However, this would certainly have negative repercussions.

One can imagine the bureaucratic mess created by grade appeals and complaints from students struggling to catch up. Graduates could also find themselves scrutinized by employers for what may be seen as a shoddy, rushed final year.

In addition, government action may simply be too little too late.

Perhaps it would be best for York to simply cancel the entire semester. As frustrating as this would be initially, at least students would no longer be in limbo and could start planning for the future. Should this occur, students deserve to be compensated by the university for their wasted tuition payments.

Thankfully, York has made attempts to get some students back in class. Exchange students in York’s business program were able to finish out last semester before leaving the country permanently for winter break.

At first glance this seems unfair, but at least some students managed to escape the crisis. For the remaining students, the strike is at a frustrating standstill.

Although the faculty may be justified in some of its demands, it is not realistic to expect wage increases in a time of economic downturn. More importantly, the length of the strike is simply unfair to students.

One would think that some of those teaching and graduate assistants currently on strike â€" often fresh from undergrad themselves â€" would be more sympathetic towards the plight of York undergraduate students.

As the strike continues, York students’ perception of their faculty steadily worsens.

In their defense, new faculty lamented not only low pay but also their lack of job security. Yet their situation mirrors the typical career path. It takes years of working for lesser pay in a situation with little job stability to start most careers.

Overall, this lengthy crisis has painted York’s contract faculty as selfish and, with so much media attention on the issue, it has done nothing to help the university’s image either.

A decision needs to be made soon for the sake of the students â€" and for the sake of York’s reputation.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette