Students suffering through VIU strike

Re: Talks stalled in VIU strike, March 22.

To the Editor,

Re: Talks stalled in VIU strike, March 22.

I am extremely dismayed about the length of the strike that Vancouver Island University and VIU Faculty Association has let go on for over a week and a half.

Although I appreciate the different perspectives of both parties involved, it seems that students are the ones suffering the most. It was my belief that both faculty and the university were there to promote student learning above all, but the duration of this strike demonstrates that I am mistaken.

As a student in my last few weeks of a degree program, this strike, and lack of effective mediation and discussion, puts my cohorts and I under extreme duress. It is unfair to students who are paying for services they cannot receive to let something like this drag on for an extended period of time.

So far, this strike has cost me $500 in classes I have paid for but will not have taken.  Taking into consideration all of the money that every student has paid for classes they will not get, VIU should have made some significant savings.

If VIU would like to consider saving money on operating costs, so that classes will not be cut or teachers laid off, perhaps the university could consider some suggestions?

Turn the thermostats down in each building by 2 C

Do not open when there is snow falling: the sheer costs of keeping the school safe and clear of ice must be astronomical (yet the campus is still inaccessible for many students when it is snowing).

Minimize photocopying privileges for teachers and staff – too many handouts end up recycled after minimal use,; Moodle is a great alternative.

Reduce the amount of fancy advertising and printouts VIU uses to attract students within the university to different programs/course areas (target this through e-mails instead).

Both VIU and the VIUFA should be considering the needs of students above all. If it were not for the money of students, neither party would be operating.

I believe students are being used as unwilling pawns in this debate, and students are the ones who are suffering the most as a result.

Although I appreciate the updates available online, I find that they can be vague. It feels like students are the ones left in the dark, when their futures are at stake.

Faculty and VIU have told students that things will work out eventually, and that everything will be done to help students finish the semester. Without solid information about how students should be expected to conclude this term, these are empty promises.

Students want to see authentic resolutions to VIUFA and VIU’s bargaining problems sooner rather than later, so that we may continue with our lives and not lose out on any more classes.

Sophia Francescutti

Nanaimo