News / Ottawa

Pro-student rally to push for school return

Algonquin president warns of possible term extension

College faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College last month. Faculty at Ontario's 24 colleges have been walking picket lines for more than two weeks, affecting more than 500,000 students in the province.

The Canadian Press

College faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College last month. Faculty at Ontario's 24 colleges have been walking picket lines for more than two weeks, affecting more than 500,000 students in the province.

The warring sides in the provincial college strike are back at the bargaining table, but students want more than just a resumption of talks.

Students at Algonquin College will protest on campus Friday in an effort to draw attention to their plight after classes were stopped more than two weeks ago.

"The Algonquin Students' Association Board of Directors believes that students, first and foremost, belong in the classroom," reads part of the association's letter calling for a rally.

As negotiations resume, Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen is waring students that the fall term could be extended when classes reopen. In a message addressed to the students, Jensen wrote that it's still unclear how far the extension will go, explaining that it will all depend on the length of the strike and will vary from program to program.

"Every effort will be made to avoid extending into the summer, but again, this will depend on how long classes are suspended," she wrote in a two-page message. "We need to end this strike and get students back in the classrooms."

Jensen's letter adds that once the strike ends, classes will resume on the second weekday to give lecturers enough time to prepare for the class resumption. Those whose travel arrangements for the holiday season may be affected by the extension will get their situations dealt with on a case-by-case basis, she wrote.

Student's association president Victoria Ventura said the possible extension was expected as an option to make up for the lost time during the strike. She hopes it doesn't lead into losing the entire semester or extend into January.

"It certainly isn't ideal to have our semester schedule so different than what we were expecting when we first started in September," she wrote in an email to Metro.

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