Several dozen students converged in front of the student centre on campus on Wednesday afternoon in a demonstration that calls for both parties in the Mount Allison strike to reach a resolution so they can return to class. TOWER PHOTO
Mount Allison’s administration called a press conference earlier today (Feb. 9) regarding the ongoing dispute between the university and the Mount Allison Faculty Association.
Karen Grant, the university’s vice-president, academic and research, said, “We are now entering the third week since the Mount Allison Faculty Association withdrew its services and went on strike. In our view, it is unacceptable that students are not in class tomorrow.”
Grant added that last week, during post-strike mediation with the faculty association, the university proposed binding arbitration as a means to resolve the current impasse between the university and the full-time and part-time faculty bargaining units.
“This would have meant our students could have been back in the classroom tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 10,” she said.
The Mount Allison students’ union also issued a statement today, saying they have taken a stance supporting the introduction of a special mediator, on condition of an immediate return to class.
“The students' union wants a fair contract that protects those qualities of the university that define the student experience at Mount Allison,” said vice-president, academic affairs, Ryan Harley. “While we hoped a fair contract could have been agreed on without disrupting classes, this has not been the case. We cannot ignore the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty surrounding the remainder of our semester. We have taken a stance.”
Harley said the students’ union supports the position of a special mediator, with a return to class, based on the desire to see the semester resume with relatively little consequence.
The students' union’s statement went on to say that the Mount Allison administration had agreed to support the stance of a special mediator if the faculty association agreed to the “return to class” stipulation, adding they hope both parties recognize the gravity of impact these negotiations have on students.
“In the event that a solution cannot be agreed upon, the students' union is prepared to support binding arbitration and government intervention,” the statement continued. “In the interim, signatures will be collected asking for a return to class that will then be sent the Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister on Wednesday.”
A student demonstration is planned for this coming Wednesday outside the Wallace-McCain Student Centre at 11 a.m.