Coming to campus is an exciting time for all students. You get to see old friends – or make new ones if it’s your first time here at Western – and it is something we all look forward to with the last days of summer slowly changing over to autumn.
As this week goes by, several thousand new first-year students have experienced what Western is about – community, excitement and, most of all, learning. More than 15,000 returning students have already experienced what Western is about and are back for more, something that isn’t experienced at any other university in Canada.
However, this experience has been threatened by a strike that is occurring now on campus. We know many parts of the Western community will be impacted by the strike, but our students are impacted the most. When students chose to attend Western, they place their complete trust in this institution to provide them the best environment in their pursuit of higher education and post-secondary experience.
This trust is especially fresh in the minds of our new students who have chosen to attend Western over any other university. It is because of the promise of ‘Canada’s best student experience’ that they chose to go to Western. Students need to believe that any decision made ensures that their quality of life is not jeopardized.
Yet students are frustrated; a lack of progress and bus routes being changed and delayed has made it hard for students to understand the labour negotiation process. Although classes have just begun, there is no telling how the strike will impact students once midterms, essays and finals begin. Just the thought of a prolonged strike in the middle of winter is enough to make one shudder, especially when students are unable to access transportation throughout campus.
We are not trying to meddle in current labour negotiations. The lack of dialogue and discussion between the university administration and the UWOFA-LA is hard for students to understand.
We urge the administration and UWOFA-LA to get back to the negotiating table. We want to believe this campus considers, values and respects the best interest of all its members of its community, especially its students. It’s something that I knew when coming to Western that holds true to this day.
At this moment we will keep students updated, but if this strike persists for an extended amount of time, we will take a stance on behalf of our student body.
Andrew Forgione is the University Students’ Council president.