Get back to the table to settle this - Or we are not paying our tuition.

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We are now approaching the fifth week, and we, the students, are beyond disappointed with how the Ontario College Strike 2017 has been handled. When we began class in September we never expected that only six short weeks into the year we would be on a Provincial Wide Strike; especially one that would continue on for such an extreme amount of time, showing no end in sight.

Students paid our fall tuition in good faith expecting 14 weeks of classes. Many of us put our lives on hold to invest in our education and to better our futures. Some of us couldn’t balance a full time school schedule while working a part time job, so we put our education first, placing ourselves on a very strict budget. Others are parents and chose to go back to school to better the lives of their family, and now their families are forced to suffer as well. We are now all experiencing extreme financial pressures due to the unforeseeable circumstances caused from Ontario Colleges’ strike. There are no limits to what we had to sacrifice for our education, but we did it in good faith thinking this was going to better our futures. Now we have no control, others have put our education and futures on hold, leaving us with nothing, including no guarantee we will even receive the education we paid for.

We have tried to be patient and trust that everyone had the students’ best interest in mind. We waited for three weeks before hearing anything. Finally we had hope again when a provincially appointed mediator stepped in and asked both parties to return to the bargaining table. Everyone said this was good; now both parties had a chance to go back to the table and actually negotiate an agreement. We thought this was our chance to get our education back, but we stood defeated again. The talks ended with the College Employee Council (CEC) expressing that they felt the Union “stonewalled” their offer and calling for the college faculty to vote on the purposed contract, extending the strike for at least another two weeks.

We paid our fall semester tuition in good faith, but have yet to get our return. When Durham College President, Don Lovisa, was asked if winter tuition was still due by November 20th, he responded that it is still due. But there is no indication that we will even be returning to classes soon.

We are asking that should our teachers choose to exercises their right to vote no in their upcoming vote (from Tuesday, November 13th ­– Thursday, November 16th), that both parties will agree to return to the table and negotiate a deal that will end this strike, putting students back in classroom. If the CEC and the Union are unwilling to return to the table, we, the students, will withhold paying our winter tuition, which is due to all Ontario Colleges within the upcoming weeks.

We pay to learn, the Colleges work for us, but so far we have not been getting a fair return on our investment. This has lasted long enough we are done sitting here feeling powerless, so this is our stand. Please fix this so we can go back to the classroom and continue to get the education we are paying for.



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