News / Ottawa

'Motivation's at an all time low:' Algonquin students frustration high

Despite back-to-work legislation students still frustrated by lengthy strike.

Faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Faculty walk the picket line outside Algonquin College.

Algonquin College students’ frustration was high Thursday after members of the faculty union voted resoundingly to reject a proposed settlement, but they may get relief after all as Premier Kathleen Wynne announced back-to-work legislation to end the strike.
Faculty across Ontario voted 86 per cent against the latest offer from colleges Thursday. Subsequently, Wynne announced the legislation. It was unclear at press time if or when the legislation would take effect.
Students at Algonquin College were told they would not lose their semester if the faculty had voted in favour of the deal. But that was not a big comfort.
“All the college seems to do is say to us that no one has ever lost a semester and they’re not about to start now,” said Lee Willis, a practical nursing student in his final year. 
Many Algonquin students have taken to online groups to vent their frustrations, with some openly musing about suing the college for failing to develop a plan.
Most seemed to have been bracing for Thursday’s ‘No’ vote, having lost much of their faith in the process. 
Prior to the legislation being introduced, Willis said that he didn’t expect premier Kathleen Wynne to do much to help them, since “college students don’t really vote.”
“I’ve been trying to stay on top of my readings,” said Mitch Steward, another practical nursing student, but “motivation’s at an all-time low.” 
“There’s such a feeling of hopelessness, because everything about this is so outside of my control,” said Willis.
The advanced education minister said both side were to blame for the process and the govenrment wanted everyone back in the classroom.
“I would say that both parties share the failure, and it is a failure,’’ said advanced education minister Deb Matthews.
“Both parties need to recognize that their approach to this date has not resulted in any kind of success. They have to focus on students.’’
with files from the Canadian Press

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