Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Faculty protest could damage students’ jobs

Walking (not busing) home from campus yesterday, I had two thoughts about the weather: 1) You know you’ve lost your Ontarian edge when -15 C forces you to seriously consider moving to Australia, and 2) I would not want to be part of a picket line in this disgusting weather.

I’m willing to bet that our professors don’t relish the thought either.

My first reaction upon hearing of the possibility of a Dalhousie faculty strike was extreme anguish. Anguish over all the work I have already put into this semester, over the thought of having to (gulp) extend this school year into the summer, and over the directionless, TV-filled abyss into which I foresaw my life plummeting.

My face grew pale to hear of the infamous York University strike, in which (depending on who you ask) students either had their school year extended well into the summer, or were asked to repeat the semester with no refund to their tuition.

Either scenario poses a huge problem for those who are paying their own way through university. Ask any person and they will tell you that even two weeks of lost summer work can be the difference between spaghetti every night, or spaghetti once a week.

Thankfully, it looks as though my job at the Dalplex pool—where I teach swim lessons and lifeguarding—will go on regardless, because it’s also open to the public. King’s has also announced that their classes will continue to run (as told informally by Dr. Robertson to his second-year Early Modern Studies class, who heard it from Anne Leavitt, King’s president). What a relief!

Interestingly, the most effective strikes seem to be those that inconvenience the greatest amount of people, particularly if those people are shelling out $7,000 per year to keep that place of employment running. As with the city’s transit and so with the school: it is unfortunate and necessary that a strike affects not only the two parties in negotiations, but a third and angry party that renders a strike particularly effective.

I don’t want to be part of this party. Nor, I’m sure, does anyone else. However, I’m sure there is not a single professor who would rather be out holding a sign in the cold than in a classroom, doing the job they (hopefully) love.

The right to strike plays an important role in keeping our society as fair as possible. Selfishly, I am irate. But the more magnanimous side of me knows that this is one shitty aspect of believing in an even playing ground.

Anyways, I get dibs on Downton Abbey at Video Difference. My city is going on strike.

Samantha Elmsley
Samantha Elmsley
Samantha was Opinions Editor of the Gazette for Volumes 145 and 146.
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