Monday, June 24, 2024

Junk mail

In these dark and uncertain times, a “hallelujah” drops from my lips each time I read a strike update from our Board of Governors. Concise, upbeat and containing just the right amount of sass, they continue to brighten and enlighten this political wasteland.

Just kidding.

The regular emails sent out by the Board of Governors are helpful—mostly because they effectively capture the sense of desperate positivity still being clung to by much of the student body. The last update, after outlining the basic picture of what a strike would mean for students, continued to emphasize that the strike was not yet official.

Meanwhile, on Feb. 27 the Dalhousie Faculty Association (DFA) website was announcing their office removal to a “strike headquarters” across from Pete’s Frootique. What the Board is saying and what the DFA is doing are out of sync, to say the least.

While I appreciate that the Board must get their own position across to students, it has now become apparent that these one-sided emails are simply not giving us the whole story. Frankly, I find this opaque communication insulting—students are going to be affected by the strike, and we deserve to have a clear picture of its unfolding. Why haven’t we heard more from the professors?

The Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) released a student-friendly strike summary, outlining both the issues at hand and the proceedings surrounding their negotiation. On communication, the DSU says: “The Board has been very forthcoming with their position on issues and has been in regular contact with the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) as the potential for a strike has emerged. The DSU has not met or spoken with the DFA since January 27, when the DFA held a student leader information session. We have requested that the DFA meet with us since that time, however, no individual meetings have been scheduled.” The Board seems to have been upfront with their position. Why have we heard almost nothing official from the DFA’s point of view?

Is it because it is the professors, not the Board members, who have to go out and face the anxious student body every day? Is the DFA aware that students (or at least, this student) feel uninformed as to their views? Does a forum even exist for the DFA to relate their position to students and the public, or is it the responsibility of the Board to communicate all perspectives on the issue (at which they have clearly failed)?

Students should not have to go digging for the answers to these questions. The Board should be bombarding us on all sides as the potential for a strike becomes increasingly inevitable.

The Board may have a right to its biases, but students have a right to the truth. Somehow, the perspective of the DFA must make its way to our inboxes.

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