Algonquin College students nervous about strike vote
Having lost most of Christmas Break, many hope not to lose semester.
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Algonquin College students are in a state of uncertainty about their college terms as the faculty strike across Ontario enters its fifth week.
This week union members will be voting on the latest contract offer. Enough ‘yes’ votes would end the strike and bring students back to classes in another week.
The strike is already the longest in the 50-year history of the Ontario college system, leaving many students with feelings of anxiety.
"Students have legitimate questions about their futures, their fees, if they are going to get a refund, and nobody knows," said Victoria Ventura, who has been president of the Algonquin College student association since May. "It's so hard because there's no real answers. Everything is so 'to be determined.'"
"Anecdotally, what people are telling me, the vote is 'no.' I'm anticipating a very strong rejection when the votes are tallied on Thursday,” said Jack Wilson, local 415 vice president and an Algonquin College professor of communications.
"We're here for the long term in terms of quality of education for our students and also for precarious workers.”
Because of the strike, Algonquin and La Cité colleges in Ottawa have cancelled most of the Christmas break and extended the fall term into January. Christmas vacation has been reduced from three weeks to one, disrupting the plans of many students who wanted to go home to see their families.
"Fortunately, my family is just over two hours away, so I can still probably go home and see them, but it's having a major impact on anyone living further away than that,” said Ventura.
Ventura said she has received more than 500 emails over the last two weeks from students looking for answers, with not much to tell them.
"It's added a lot of stress and anxiety that already comes with being in college. I was planning to graduate in April and hopefully start a job in my field in May. Now, it's basically putting that into question."