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Update: Meeting with Minister Deb Matthews and Eight Student Association Presidents

Published: October 31, 2017

From FSU President Morganna Sampson

How will student’s semesters be affected by the strike?
Academic calendars are determined by each College individually. It was noted, the Ministry will not mandate certain holidays to be removed or semesters to be extended.

Minister Deb Matthews suggests each Student Association President work closely with their College President and Academic Advising team to determine the necessary semester changes once the strike is resolved. This may differ from program to program as different programs have different needs.

There is so much media buzz surrounding the strike and it’s hard to know what to think. Is there one place students can go to find updates from the Ministry, CEC and OPSEU?
Yes. Check the, websites or @fanshawesu social media for information relating to Fanshawe Students and links to OPSEU and CEC.

Minister Matthews has appointed a government staff member to update Student Associations on new occurrences regarding the strike that pertain to students. Meaning, we will be first to know about any updates from the Ministry and if we have questions, we have a liaison whom to ask.

Are student concerns being heard?
The eight Student Association Presidents that met with Minister Matthews last week ensured that she was aware of student concerns and possible effects of the strike, even after resolution.

The Presidents brought forward the following concerns:
  • Loss of education quality
  • Tuition refund
  • Potential of housing and lease agreements being affected from extended semesters
  • Impact on placement and apprenticeship students
  • Impact on student jobs
  • International students
  • Mental health impact due to no faculty counselors on campus, anxiety from strike and compressed schedules in future.
The Minister is currently looking into how to support students with these concerns.

When will the strike be resolved and will the government step in to do so?
As we saw in the media release yesterday by CBC News, the government has not ruled out stepping in and legislating faculty back to work. In our meeting last week, Minister Matthews consistently stated that the OPSEU and the CEC have a legal right to bargain and need to be given an appropriate amount of time to do so. However, there is no mandate as to what is an ‘appropriate time period’. Our goal last Thursday, was to ensure that Minister Matthews, CEC and OPSEU are aware that every day of class missed is one that cannot be equally made up and that loss of quality of education is becoming critical.

Are there any plans in place to avoid this scenario for future strikes?
Minister Matthews suggested the eight Student Association Presidents have further discussions on how they would like this process to look like in the future and submit a recommendation as to how student voices can be heard. If another strike occurs in three years, we want to ensure students are never left with the possibility of losing their semester. However, any disruption to student education at all is unacceptable.
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