College strike results in a stressful end of semester for students

Photo by Ahmad Faiq


After five long weeks, the strike at Conestoga College has finally ended.

Students have returned to class and faculty have resumed their posts as a result of a back-to-work legislation mandated by the provincial government.

As of the official conclusion of the strike, the union and council were in the process of selecting a mediator to resolve the issue.

“I think we’re just getting back to work, it wasn’t an easy issue, it’s hard to put blame and there’s enough blame to go around everywhere,” Mike Dinning, vice-president of student affairs at Conestoga College said.

“I just hope that we all move past it, it’s going to take time, it’s not just business as usual. I think we have to wait and see what the final decision is with  the arbitrator and then we will see how it impacts all of us.”

As for students, many have had a difficult time readjusting to their academic schedules.

“The way they have it right now is that they’re basically cramming everything together and they’re forcing students to not have their winter break,” Kowsalya Jeyaraam, a police-foundations student at Conestoga College, said.

“I find that unfair because the students weren’t the problem, it was the teachers. Why are they affecting the students for something the teachers did?”

Due to the five-week delay caused by the strike, the semester at Conestoga College has been extended and course material has been condensed to account for the lost time.

“The semester until Christmas has been lengthened to Dec. 22. We’re starting school again on the second of January,” Dinning said.

“I’m very impressed with the fact that students are back into class and they and the faculty are working on getting through to the end of the semester.”

With the increased workload and imminent deadlines for assignments and midterms, many students are stressed about their education.

“Right when we got back to school, a week later they had all of our midterms, all of our assignments due,” Jeyaraam said.

Shankar Srikantharajah, another police-foundations student at Conestoga College, also felt that the strike accomplished very little.

“We’re paying great money right now to get school and get our education, we didn’t pay for them to go on strike, we’re paying to get our education,” Srikantharajah said.

“From what I know, they didn’t get anything they wanted, they didn’t get what they striked [sic] for so they did it for no reason.”

The faculty at Conestoga College seem to share this sentiment.

“It’s going to take a while for that to be looked at, I don’t know if anything is ever accomplished by a labour dispute,” Dinning said.

However, Dinning understands that the strike has negatively impacted students at Conestoga College.

“It’s inconvenient to students in the sense that part of what their planned holiday was has been taken away,” he said.

“Everything has been tightened up, there’s more pressure on finishing the work that’s necessary to do,” Dinning said.

Despite the setback, he and the rest of the staff are determined to help students get through the rest of the semester.

“I’m trying to get us to focus on those issues with students. To get students through the semester, to allow students to be successful at what they’re doing and move on from this,” Dinning said.

“I’m very impressed with the fact that students are back into class and they and the faculty are working on getting through to the end of the semester.”

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