Now that the strike by college teachers is over, do you know how your studies will be affected? How lost time will be made up?
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Q: Does anyone have any information on the rumours of a class action lawsuit?
Tyler Charlebois of the College Student Alliance: In terms of a class action lawsuit to be reimbursed for tuition and expenses, yes college students could file a lawsuit against the colleges, government and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union if they felt that they were not going to be reimbursed.
When the past two faculty strikes happened in 1984 and 1989, the provincial government through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) provided financial assistance for those students who experienced financial hardship.
Q: What can I do if I have a summer job already lined up that starts at the end of April, and the semester is extended beyond that?
Durham College: Students with summer jobs beginning at the end of April are advised to contact their school office to make arrangements to complete their courses.
Q: Hi! I'm a student in the combined Mohawk-McMaster nursing program. I booked a flight for April 28 to attend a family function in Europe, way back in December '05 when there was a seat sale. My semester was supposed to be done by the end of April. Now, if the semester is extended because of the strike, who will reimburse me for the flight, because the ticket cannot be rescheduled, and it is not possible to get my money back. Travel insurance does not cover this. Thank you for any help you can give me.
Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes: If this student could send an e-mail directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will then quickly work together with program chair Dr. Mary Brown to find the best possible solution.
At Mohawk, we’ve extended the school year by two weeks. The majority of students in the majority of our 101 full-time programs will finish their year by the end of April. Some students in our Apprenticeship and Health Sciences programs - which includes our Mohawk-McMaster Bachelor of Science in Nursing program - will finish their year in early May.
Faculty and staff at Mohawk are working together to ensure the academic requirements of every student’s semester are met and that the academic integrity of every student’s individual program and credential is upheld. This is especially important in nursing.
At the same time, we’re helping students on a case-by-case basis who face extenuating circumstances, whether it’s a booked flight for a family function in Europe, a wedding, the start of a summer job or a lease that expires at the end of month.
At Mohawk, students and learning are at the heart of all we do. Faculty and staff are committed to upholding both commitments in the coming weeks as our students successfully complete their semester.
Q: In a university classroom setting every professor even though s/he is lecturing/teaching a class size of less than 300 students, has many teaching assistants paid to do the work of setting up tutorials, correct assignments, mark assignments and also conduct the exams. The professor walks in, delivers the lecture and continues the research and collects the paycheque. In a college classroom setting, even if the professor is lucky to get one TA in the classroom, the TAs are not allowed to mark the assignments. They are in the class just to facilitate and resolve the issues and difficulties of the students when the class is in progress.
As a result of this, inspite of the lucky presence on one TA, the professor still has to do the marking of the assignments for a class size of say 35 students. And now imagine the professor marking three other assignments for three additional courses being taught per week. For the same class size this would mean a whopping 140 assignments to be marked per week. Add to this the hours needed to prep for the next weeks content and assignments.
Hence, the average hours put in (from my experience) amounts to less than 60 hours/wk rather than the predetermined 44hours/wk (I still can't figure out how the public opinion that a professor puts in only 12 to 14 hours per week came about).
If TAs in colleges are not marking assignments, then what is the need for TAs in a college level setting?
Tyler Charlebois of the College Student Alliance: Firstly, I believe it is very rare in the Ontario community college sector for a professor/faculty member to have a TA (teaching assistant) as those faculty who are doing research or working on new curriculum are normally not teaching a full course load. Currently the average in-class teaching hours are 14 hours per week by Ontario community college faculty. During the strike it was mentioned that a workload change would result in faculty actually only in the classroom teaching 12 hours per week.
Q: I am a student of Ryerson University's collaborative Nursing (BScN) program and am currently at the Centennial college site. I wanted to know if the semester will be extended for the same amount of time for which the strike lasted? Would the college teachers be teaching students properly in the same way they were teaching before the strike or will they be rushing through the content?
Our clinical placements require us to be in clinic for about 4-5 weeks, and we lost time from our clinical placement due to the strike. In case of an extended semester, would we still be still going to our previously scheduled clinical placements because some assignments are related to our experience in long term care facility?
Centennial College: The semester will not be extended. All partners of the Ryerson, Centennial and George Brown Collaborative Nursing Degree program believe that maintaining curriculum integrity must be integral to all semester completion plans. We will ensure that all strategies for semester completion will allow nursing students to meet all program and course outcomes in the four years of the Collaborative Nursing Degree program.
Q: I received a letter wanting my tuition fees for next semester by April 3. What is happening with this? Do we have to pay by April 3, as in the letter, or what?
Seneca College: The summer semester at Seneca College will commence on the originally scheduled date, the week of May 8th. New students are encouraged to pay tuition fees by the due date indicated on their invoices in order to hold their program places for the summer term.
Returning students should pay their fees in early April to ensure access to the web registration system for summer term. Students in financial difficulty should visit the financial aid office at their respective campus, where they may qualify for bursary assistance.
Q: Students cannot afford to have an extended semester. I am in my third semester at Seneca College and I have applied for many summer jobs that would require me to start working by the end of April. If the semester is extended who will compensate me for the lost time? What kind of financial help is available?
Seneca College: Academic accommodations will be worked out for students with documented commitments - pre-booked travel/moving plans, employment opportunities - that keep them from being able to attend during the revised semester dates.
Tyler Charlebois of the College Student Alliance: Students across the province can not financially afford for their semester to be extended into the summer period. The College Student Alliance has estimated that for every week the semester is extended into the summer period, all 150,000 college students cumulatively will lose $60 million in lost earnings. That is why in our demand to the provincial government and the colleges we are asking that if the semester is expanded or contracted that students be reimbursed for loss of earnings as a result.
Q: Is the tuition for students going to be pro-rated for loss of time due to the strike? It appears that a contract was broken and therefore some tuition fees should be given back to the students.
Seneca College: Seneca College has a schedule in place to ensure students have an opportunity to both complete the current semester and meet essential learning outcomes in their respective programs. As a result, there are no plans for pro-rated tuition adjustments. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is expected to release a policy statement this week.
Tyler Charlebois of the College Student Alliance: The College Student Alliance is currently moving forward with its two demands to see that all students affected by the strike receive pro-rated tuition and mandatory ancillary fee rebates as well as be reimbursed for extraordinary expenses that the students have incurred as a result of the strike. The compensation should include, but not limited to, items such as: additional residence fees, incremental child care costs, loss of earnings, and increased rental expenses, etc. College students have paid for a service that for some over the last three weeks did not receive to no fault of their own. Now they need to be reimbursed for the service they did not and are not going to give back. The CSA has been in contact with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities officials as well the colleges to find out whether or not students will be receiving any compensation/reimbursement.