Parents use Facebook to put heat on York U.

January 13, 2009


EDUCATION REPORTER

Parents should think twice about sending their teens to York University because of ongoing labour troubles, says a family that has launched a Facebook group and blog pressing for an end to a strike that is now in its 10th week.

With tomorrow’s university application deadline looming, Dagmar Kanzler and David Ross – parents of a second-year student – say they need to “warn other parents that York is not able to deliver the education” it promised because classes have been cancelled for almost all of the school’s 50,000 students since the strike began Nov.6.

“Both the university and the union have completely lost track of the fact that this is all about the students,” said Kanzler. “It’s not about them. It’s about 50,000 people who are just in limbo right now – people whose futures are going to be permanently affected.”

The university and the union representing its 3,340 teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants aren’t talking. Late last week, the university asked the Ontario labour ministry to organize a supervised vote on its latest offer, which includes a 9.25 per cent wage increase over three years.

No date has yet been set for the vote on the offer, but if employees approve it, the strike would end.

Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the striking workers, has planned a rally for noon today to protest the forced vote.

York spokesperson Alex Bilyk said parents can call the university for information and that “the quickest way to get our students back into class is for our employees to vote yes for the offer, which is reasonable and sustainable.”

He said the labour disruption could hurt applications for next fall, but once it’s over academic programs will go on. However, so far, the strike hasn’t appeared to scare off potential students, guidance counsellors across the province say.

Ronna Stulberg, at Albert Campbell Collegiate in Scarborough, said she has “not heard one single concern.”

Joanne Brown, the guidance head at Maple High School in York Region, said 79 per cent of the students applying for university there have chosen York, which is consistent with other years.

“The only thing I am seeing is potentially an increase in applications to Ryerson as well, whereas students in the past may have only applied to York,” she said.

Of 150 university applications, 119 students have chosen at least one York program, she added. Brown is involved with the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association and said no one is reporting a drop in interest in York.

“Students aren’t talking about it,” she added. “But if students came to us, we’d say next year was the perfect time to go. You know all the labour strife is over. It’s probably one of the best places to go.”

Source: http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/569864

Well, I sure hope that they realise and inform all these kiddies coming into University that there are only a handful of Universities that are insulated from this coordinated labour movement of Cupe-University unions in the Province.

I will say now that if York does not get a 3 year contract then I am tranferring out of Province to finish my degree. If I have this in my fourth year again, I don’t know what I will do.

 

 

 

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77 Comments

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77 responses to “Parents use Facebook to put heat on York U.

  1. Flying J

    @ CUPE doll and clennis,
    To be fair, I understand both of the arguments that have been presented by the aforementioned posters, respectively.

    However, as a consecutive Faculty of Ed student, my life is being affected in such a way that this strike is now threatening to take food off the table that I need to feed my wife who stays at home with our two small children. Come May, rather than being able to work and provide for my family, I will be searching the food banks for sustenance. But when I mention this to other CUPE members such as Pally Wally, her only response is, to paraphrase, “I feel sorry for your predicament, but we need to fight for what’s right”.

    This is why I believe that CUPE doll is not being misleading. There seems to be an underlying ideology driving CUPE members who are in favour of the strike.

    @clennis:
    To address your point- I hate York. Even if York is right and the union’s request has been unreasonable (which I personally believe to be the case), I hate York so much at this point that I want to see the university brought to its knees. And I hope parents realize that this damn school is a joke. So I guess I am the ultimate antagonist. While I believe on the one hand that the union is full of greedy radicals, I’m willing to wait this out and witness the fallout this strike will have on York’s reputation in the long term. I also hope that somehow York refuses to hire all members of CUPE 3903 in the future so they can end up jobless and pushed to the brink of despair as they search for their next meal at the local food bank. In short- to hell with all y’all!

  2. boot camp

    union leaders need a little visit from Sgt. Hoffman from the movie Full Metal Jacket to knock some sense in there stupid little heads

  3. stricken

    I don’t understand the continued paranoia about the year being canceled. From the Senate policy, “in the event of a [labour] disruption, the primary obligation of Senate is to ensure the academic integrity of all programmes.” So long as “no dilution of standards normally expected of students [is] permitted,” and there is “as little diminution as possible in the instructional or supervisory support given to students”, integrity will be maintained.

    Ultimately, what it comes down to is time. If we are given sufficient time for lectures, assignments and exams, the standards will be upheld. I see nothing in the policy to indicate that a two or three month gap due to labour disruption compromises academic integrity. The policy does say that no more than a week can be dropped from a given semester, which means this time will have to be made up somehow. Something will have to give.

    Between canceling the fall semester, which is over 50% complete and already paid for, and the summer term, for which enrollment hasn’t even begun, summer is the obvious choice. There are less than half the number of students are on campus during the summer months to be affected. Restarting the fall semester in the winter would cause a lot more hardship, and delay everyone by at least one semester. Skipping the fall semester, and moving on to winter, isn’t viable due to prerequisites. This leaves only the summer to be sacrificed, or am I missing something?

    What’s the worst case scenario? Another month of striking? At some point the government will step in and force arbitration. While it is technically true that York is a private institution, as CUPE members like to point out, a huge portion of the school’s income comes from the government. That’s where the real power lies. In the end, both the union and administration are beholden to the government.

    As an aside, I find it funny that CUPE seems to think it is striking at the heart of “neoliberal” capitalism by attacking what is largely a publicly funded institution. They don’t even know who their enemies are.

  4. An upset yorkie

    I too am a B.Ed student and I feel completely ripped off. I when I paid for my tuition, I foolishly expected to receive a quality education in return. Both my education and my future plans have been compromised. I had originally planned to supply teach after classes ended, but it looks like that’s out of the question now. The longer this strike goes, the less sympathetic I am for CUPE’s demands. There’s a different between fighting for what you feel is right and just plain taking advantage of the situation. Enough is enough! I just want to get my degree and get the heck out of here. Let’s hope CUPE gets its act together and they vote to end this strike. I don’t know how much more of this I can take!!!

  5. another upset yorkie

    I totally agree with you An Upset Yorkie!! I am also a B.ed student and I am getting so frustrated sitting here waiting to get the education I paid for. While other B.ed students are off applying for the few jobs that are available in Ontario, I am sitting at home losing not only my education but also my future. GO BACK TO WORK CUPE!!!

  6. tester

    An upset yorkie,

    The Ontario Legislature is on break until February 15 or 16, but can be recalled for an emergency session if necessary. Thousands of students are emailing their MPP and other MPPs in Ontario explaining their hardships during the strike, and demanding the the Ontario Legislature be recalled to enact back to work legislation. This is an emergency. Back to work legislation is the only way to guarantee our semester is not lost.

    The Provincial Government wants to stay out of this labour dispute and let 50,000 students suffer in hopes of a negotiated settlement. Thousands of students have been out of school since November 6th, and are demanding action from the Provincial Government. Also, parents and students from other school are writing, demanding government intervention and back to work legislation.

    I encourage everyone to email/fax their MPP and the three key people below and let them know how you feel and what you want done.

    You can find your MPP’s contact info here:http://www.yorknothostage.com/letter…g-contact-info

    And here are the rest.
    Dalton McGuinty: dmcguinty.mpp@liberal.ola.org AND dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org AND Premier’s feedback form

    Minister of Labour, Peter Fonseca pfonseca.mpp@liberal.ola.org AND pfonseca.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

    Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, John Milloy: jmilloy.mpp@liberal.ola.org AND jmilloy.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

    Also, they can be reached by phone and fax. The contact info is also in the MPP contact info link. Let them know how each of you feel, and what you want done.

    YOU AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW CAN HELP. VISIT THE SITES IN MY SIGNATURE FOR MORE DETAILS FROM THESE THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS.

    http://www.yorknothostage.com AND http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44571865743

    IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT STUDENTS WORK TOGETHER TO LOBBY THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO STEP UP AND END THE STRIKE.

  7. fed up

    upset yorkie, even if the strike ends and the year is complete in time for you to do supply work, keep in mind that it is very unlikely that you’ll get such work during this school year. The supply lists at most GTA boards are closed, meaning that it will not be possible for you to even look at postings for supply work. In addition to that, you’ll have to wait for your certification to arrive before any board will put you on the list.

    So, while I agree with your anger, don’t count on supply work this year.

  8. I certainly hope York doesn’t drop in applications for the coming year, because really by September the strike would have been a thing of the past. It’s not like a double-cohort situation, and the chance of the strike extending into September is highly improbable.

    But the author is right, in 2010 pretty much all students in Ontario are screwed. (You’ll have to do some union-research on other provinces though! ;))

  9. TRUTH

    What a capitalist took these parents are
    These people are the reason our society is taken advantage of by capitalists

  10. Outofschoolfor3months

    TRUTH is doing some amazingly heavy handed trolling but its good for a laugh

    Of course, we’re york students, so I’m sure everyone is taking his/her comments as SERIOUS TRUTH FROM CUPE’S MOUTH

  11. Kelso

    this whole 2010 thing.. is that FALL 2010?? or like January WINTER semester 2010??

  12. Kelso

    sorry i should have written those in reverse order.. will this 2010 strike mean Jan 2010 or FALL 2010

  13. G

    I heard of this 2010 strike as has everyone else. But does anyone know if this strike will affect graduate programs? In that case I might have to leave the province to get my master degree.

  14. Bobert

    Can we stop throwing ideological labels at people. Sure its really easy to do, but it also smacks of ignorance because most of these same people can never coherently provide reasoning as to why so and so deserves such labels.

  15. CUPE member with child

    @yorkstrike,

    I can’t seem to find your response to our ongoing discussion in the threads. I briefly saw it yesterday or the day before, but I’ve been busy picketing and doing domestic chores so I haven’t yet been able to respond and can’t find it in the abyss of posts. Any chance you can re-paste it so I can read and respond?

  16. Drop-out Boogie

    if they vote on monday n tuesday, how much notice will we have before classes start, assuming they vote yes>>?

  17. Andrew

    Has anybody actually found the Facebook group and blog mentioned in the article?

  18. Laura

    Am I the only one who was actually really enjoying York before the strike occurred and will most likely learn to enjoy York again once the strike is over with?

  19. AndrewB

    I enjoyed York (for the most part) and actually can’t wait to return and not just for the sake of returning, but because I very much enjoy some of the classes I am.

    As for this news thing, bothers me when parents who have nothing to do with the strike get ‘air-time’ by the media. How about coming to this blog and doing articles on students who have been on here going toe to toe with CUPE and Admin. Wishful thinking.

  20. AndrewB

    @Drop-out Boogie

    If they vote yes (which doesn’t seem to be the case) we could see a possible 24 hr turn around, as has been advertised by York. Meaning we would start school on a wednesday, though I’d think it would be best to start on the Thursday and kind of leave off from where we were. Would make things so much easier.

  21. fob

    ^ what if they vote no (which seems like to be the case like u said)? are we still going to have school that week?

  22. CapitalistWarrior

    I’m with TRUTH 100%
    People need to see that the greedy multinational corporations are in fact behind this strike!! Therefore Nike is to blame!

  23. psp101

    It sucks for the 50 000 students who started in the fall as for me I don’t even plan to go to york anymore i was going to start in Jan but now my plans are messed.

  24. Prestia

    @ dropout boogie. I’ve heard they have to give at least 24 hrs notice before classes resume.

  25. There is no chance that we will be back next Wed. The voting ends on Tuesday. I do not recall the exact time that voting ends on Tuesday, but lets assume that it ends at noon, and at 1pm we find out that the offer is accepted. 24 hours from Tuesday at 1 still falls into Wednesday. The ABSOUTE earliest that we go back is Thursday, which I’d even argue is doubtful.

  26. your inner consciousness

  27. sam

    They should cancel the fall term and move on or it will be way to hard to go back and remember all the stuff I did in september the exams in my courses will cover every chapter in the text grades will suffer alot

  28. CapitalistWarrior

    @Sam! Son! Fall term that, winter term that.. It’s irrelevant!! Your education is irrelevant! We are fighting something bigger here! Capitalist pigs shall fall!

  29. brutal

    @ capitalist warrior i think it’s really ignorant for you to be assuming that every student gives a shit about “fighting something bigger here”. Some people want an education that they paid money for, and don’t really care about the politics. I’m a fucking student,I shouldn’t have to be immersed in situations like this. I don’t feel like fighting for things that ultimately i don’t give a shit about.

  30. Pally Wally

    CapitalistWarrior is funny. A nice play on the irony inherent in “Rage Against the Machine”, for example.

  31. brutal

    @ Mark where have you read that York won’t give back tuition money if the year is actually cancelled????????????

  32. CapitalistWarrior

    @Capitalist Defender
    I will get back to you as soon as I find a way to bring something you defend down.

    @brutal
    It’s very ignorant of you NOT to give a shit about these things. Think of the children man.. the children! They are working at Nike factories for slave wages.

    @Pally Wally
    Sleep now in the fire!

  33. resigned

    at this point, im over all the speculation and worrying and anger.. im jst over it… all i want is to get back to school… i love york, i love my classes, my profs and even my ta (i only had one) he wasnt for this strike and was a really good t.a… i JUST want to go back to school! but…i was wondering, does anyone know, are ALL members of cupe REQUIRED to show up for the vote? or is it jst those who want to go?

  34. brutal

    @ capitalist warrior

    ARM THE HOMELESS!

  35. CUPE member with child

    According to CP24, the Liberals have no plans to introduce back to work legislation:

    http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090113/090113_york_more/20090113/?hub=CP24Home

  36. fracas

    @resigned,

    the vote itself, like all votes in canada, is free ie. members choose whether they will participate or not. no one is compelled to vote, and some no doubt will not, but forced ratification votes tend to have fairly high participation rates.

  37. CUPE member with child

    According to an article in the Globe & Mail, grad schools across Canada show an increase in applicants because of the recession.

    This means more $$$ for York University.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090113.wuniversityjobs0113/BNStory/National/

  38. B

    Your simplistic conclusion that an increase in enrollments means an increase in profits shows how little you know about post-secondary finances.

    Additionally, you might want to actually read that article. An increase in applicants does not necessarily mean more people will go to grad school. It just means more people express an interest in grad school. Whether they enroll or not depends on that school increasing the number of spaces and obviously being offered admissions.

  39. Bobert

    “As for this news thing, bothers me when parents who have nothing to do with the strike get ‘air-time’ by the media.”

    tell that to the thousands of parents who work 2 jobs, to help support their sons and daughters through university

  40. My army is bigger!….and richer!

  41. @ Urban Dictionary, Yorkstudent suggested “cuped” get defined as:

    Being screwed over, being destroyed, being ruined
    Refers to the CUPE union at York University.
    He cuped me! Help! Police! He stole my purse!
    Those jerks cuped my semester.
    I was crossing the street and I got cuped. Stupid people who text and drive.

    Right now, it’s 51 for and 95 against.

  42. juliette

    cupedoll i was wondering what the chances are of the school year being cancelled? And whether its true that if the strike runs on for 12 weeks it will be cancelled?

  43. CUPE member with child

    juliette,

    I would be extremely unlikely that a single term (let alone a whole year) would be cancelled. This would be a huge financial loss to the university – much larger than giving in to Cupes demands (whether you agree that ought to be done or not). It would also risk a large exodus of students from York which could potentially be a further income loss in the future.

    I’m confident that school will resume around or before Jan. 26th.

  44. Cassie

    CUPE 3903 contract expired in Fall 2008 I believe so if they get two year contract it would be the same time period 2010. Not sure about other universities.

  45. juliette

    thanks for the response CUPE member with child

  46. CUPE member with child

    @B.

    Increases in enrollment does translate into a larger operating budget for the university through both more tuition fees levied and more government transfers. York has planned for a great increase in graduate enrollment next year and the year after – there is currently department restructuring occurring to accomodate this. Thanks for asking.

  47. @juliette

    Depends how the vote goes. If forced ratification succeeds, the school year certainly will not be canceled.

    Will ratification succeed? Nobody knows. Let’s say it’s 50/50.

    What if ratification fails? Well, 3903s would like us to believe York will just capitulate. They say York capitulated when ratification failed in 2000/01. Which would mean, if ratification failed and York capitulated, the year would not be lost. But 3903 is not honest about that. Since ratification did not entirely fail in 2000/01 — and since York didn’t capitulate. After forced ratification, in 2000/01, everyone compromised. Like they should have been doing all along. So, long story short — again, nobody knows. Will York just capitulate if ratification fails? Because nobody knows, let’s say 50/50 one more time.

    Next. If ratification fails but York does not capitulate, will the year be lost? Possibly. If there’s sufficient miscalculation, if there’s no timely legislation, if there’s enough ideological enmity and needless adversariality. Not a high probability — but not entirely negligible, either. At a guess? Let’s say 20%.

    So, overall, that would be 50% X 50% X 20% = 5% probability the year will be lost.

    This is a simplistic estimate, by the way. Doesn’t take into account possibly mixed results, for instance. But one thing is certain. This year has been academically ruined. 100%.

  48. Drop-out Boogie

    there’s gonna be an EXODUS.
    pass the matzah

  49. Andrew

    And now a dissenting view …

    It’s very unlikely that the fall or winter term would be canceled, I agree. But the summer term is far less safe. Two reasons: first, there are far fewer students than in fall/winter (so far less disruption and far less financial cost for cancellation); and second, a lot of students see summer as a “catch-up” term to fill in a course that they may have dropped, or in which they need a better grade — these students could take the same courses at a later time, so the university may even view cancellation of the summer term as income deferred, rather than income lost. So a threat to cancel the summer term is credible.

    Let’s also remember that the cancellation of a term — any term — represents a financial cost for CUPE members, as they won’t get jobs if classes are cancelled (though again, the cost is much less than it would have been in fall/winter). So far it’s ambiguous as to whether CUPE members will actually lose their course incomes as a result of this strike (they’re not being paid now — and I agree that is likely painful in the short term — but many of them are paid per course, so they might make it back later), and a credible threat to cancel a term would be the first time CUPE members face an unambiguous loss of income.

    My personal prediction is that all three units will vote “no”, and then … nothing. No negotiations for about a month until it becomes clear that either a settlement must be reached, or summer term will be canceled. At that point, with credible financial loss staring both sides in the face, hopefully something will get done, summer term will be saved, and we can all put this mess behind us.

    So I would say we’re probably going to be out of class until at least mid to late February.

  50. B

    The problem is that article is about an increase in applicants, not enrollments. But then again, you tried to dodge that by not addressing that portion of my response.

  51. Pally Wally

    CUPE Doll,

    let’s cut the hyperbole – saying this year is 100% ruined academically is somewhat facile.

    Education and in-class hours are not related 1:1; in the same way, just because someone in CUPE sticks around for 20 years in Unit 2 does not necessarily make them right for a tenure-track position.

  52. @Andrew: “My personal prediction is that all three units will vote “no”, and then … nothing.”

    Can’t see it going down that way. If all 3903 rejects the rat, that’s where and when the action will be.

    Tactically? York might resume classes then. Which will either render my loco local irrelevant — with majority members eagerly scabbing — or will lead to such unrest that Ontario Liberals will have no option but come marching in.

  53. @Pally Wally

    Facile — but true.

    I’m not understanding your second paragraph, though. Are you asking my view as contract faculty on tenure tracking unit2s? Well.. I don’t believe *any* contract faculty should *ever* get tenure tracked. For reasons demarche well expressed. However: I believe *all* contract faculty must eventually receive incrementally improving job security. Absolute zero job security is a plain outrage. However again: neither conversions nor special contracts constitute job security gains for contract faculty rank&files. Only for — what? — 1 in 100? 1 in 50? Both conversions and special contracts constitute mere tokenism.

    You know what? Even talking about this is an utter waste of time. It’s far too late to wonder how we 3903s might have gone about bargaining reasonably realistically. No point even imagining it.

  54. CUPE member with child

    Andrew,

    That’s what you’ve based your bet on? I’m going to sleep better tonight knowing the local hospital’s going to be $10 richer. tee hee. Seriously though, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  55. tired

    @ cupe doll
    what you have said is impossible. Even if the offer is rejected by all the 3 units, classes will not resume. Because york has already made it very clear in the remediation that classes will only resume after an offer is officially ratified by the union and back to work protocol has been given. So your comment has little relevance at least with what it ssys in the remediation plan.

  56. Pally Wally

    You keep skirting the issue that an education is more than the sum of the hours spent pursuing it. And – most of those hours are spent (whether in University or not) by oneself, and not under the gaze of some guru. So – what I’m saying is that class hours do not in themselves an education make. Also, 2 weeks lost per semester – which is what it boils down to at this point – are not going to seriously “ruin” the worth of anyone’s degrees or educations; and if they seriously think that, then there was nothing there to ruin in the first place.

    Is it unfair and unjust? Yes, but the rabid language being used around the topic hides that for the vast majority the damages are financial, and possibly emotional than they are academic.

    Saying the year is ruined is saying that publishing this year makes research invalid. Of course that is ridiculous – because educations and knowledge aren’t measures of time.

  57. @tired

    It will be a completely different chapter if forced ratification fails. Wait and see.

    @Pally Wally

    You’re totally underestimating the disruptive impact this interruption will have. Disingenuously so, I think.

  58. Pally Wally

    Well, I can assure you I’m not being disingenuous – but I can see there is no point arguing this point any further with you.

  59. fracas

    @cupedoll,

    i was a student in 2000-01 during the last 3903 strike. i hate to disappoint you, but once it was all over, it really was not that hard to get back on track, and get into the courses. not much substantial material was cut either – while the terms were shortened by a week (at most 2, i can’t remember), in most courses this meant cutting one topic plus an assigned film or review etc. most of the material on the course outline was still covered. in addition, assignment deadlines were adjusted, students who couldn’t write exams during the new schedules were accomodated in a variety of ways (deferrals, alternative assignments etc).

    once we got back, things fell into place. the remediation plans were pretty clear and course directors and TAs were good at explaining the changes etc. i don’t remember any major heightened tensions in the classroom either.

    stop your doom and gloom, cupedoll – it’s as if you wish things be disastrous when classes resume. much of that will depend on how you and your colleagues will treat the remediation process, no?

  60. AndrewB

    This is kind of why I wish all the CUPE people would take a break from this site. It is nice when they bring us information, but they spend more time fighting each other and using scare tactics on students then they do actually helping anymore.

  61. Bobert

    If the distinction between application and enrollment is a little fuzzy lets make things a little clearer.

    (n) application (a verbal or written request for assistance or employment or admission to a school

    (v) enroll, inscribe, enter, enrol, recruit (register formally as a participant or member)

    I’ll further illustrate with a 2003 statistic for Ontario.

    102,000 students applied
    71,913 students enrolled

    So clearly :

    Higher Applications ≠ Higher Enrollments

    Next time lets try to actually read newspaper articles, instead of just citing the title

  62. Bobert

    * the OUAC statistics for York University applications for 2003 wasn’t easy to find but the number of enrolments: 9,587

  63. Pally Wally

    We KNOW there will be higher graduate enrollments because that’s been mandated by the province.

  64. B

    But a sharp rise in applicants, as that article alludes to, does not immediately equal a sharp rise in enrollments. We are seeing more applicants this year because of the recession. It is a very common trend during recession periods.

    Its not very valid to state that more applicants this year equates $$$ for York as alluded to above.

  65. Pally Wally

    We know there will be more enrolled in graduate school because if the universities want the province’s money they will continue to expand enrollment in line with teh 25% increase mandated a few years back – which has yet to be reached;

  66. I have no desire to address your personal experience as a student during last strike, fracas. Maybe it was no big deal for you. More likely, you’re yet another labour ideologue trivializing students’ hardship and loss in this fiasco.

    Not bad as Pally Wally used to trivialize. As when saying students don’t care about education — just about the “piece of paper”. And hey — they’ll still get that.

    Regardless. Whatever your motives and honesty. Months long interruptions in the cumulative learning process, when most lower year students are only beginning to acclimate the university environment are a big deal. Most students are crystal clear about that. Given how academically ruined this year is, some students would actually prefer “starting over”.

    And despite your experience, I can relate to students feeling that way. I can relate even if I can’t agree. Since, as (contract) faculty, I will do whatever is possible while making sure students get penalized little as possible by our strikingly impossible 3903 demands.

  67. B

    Scroll up and see the posted article.

    The increase in applicant numbers this year does not mean more $$$ for York as the comment states. Just that it will be more competitive this year for grad school spots – regardless of the provincially mandated growth.

  68. Pally Wally

    CUPEDoll,

    Given how shitty some students do on midterms, I think it is common for some students at ALL universities to wish the year could just “start over” by this point.

    I don’t know if you have actually talked to your students or not, or maybe whatever discipline you’re in is different than mine – but when asked: “if you could pick their own mark at the start of term, would you continue to show up for class?” – of the 10 people that spoke 8 said they would ask for an A and leave. Some justified that they would study harder in other subjects to get into law school, some were concerned that this would cause York’s degrees to decrease in value but over all the reaction was in line with viewing the piece of paper/gpa as the goal – NOT the education itself, or the content of the course.

    CUPEDoll, this isn’t a situation that I am happy about. I wish that it were different, I wish that students cared more about education, but when you read into what they are saying, their concerns are ancillary to their education – law degree, job prospects (due to poor cachet/strike length), concern over marks, rent – they aren’t insignificant concerns – I don’t deny that, but, in the end, they don’t really match up with a “ruined” education so much as one that didn’t have a chance to begin with. These are the concerns of rational students acting rationally. Education, at least the liberal arts education I aspire to, is something of a totally different order – maybe what we’re calling ‘education’ are two different things, but I suspect we may be closer than you think.

    My position has been: if you don’t even know what you’re missing, what qualifies you to say you’re missing it?

    Yours has been something like: these students, many of whom come from places that have denied or prevented them from coming to understand the true value of an education are having the opportunity to open their eyes ruined by this strike.

    I can get behind that in a HUGE way. Those students that sort of have an epiphany – those students are the ones that you want to do everything in the world to nurture and help in every way. I think everyone has that in them, but I think a liberal arts education isn’t something that is ‘rational’ to want, or to go after – it never will be, so those that pursue one because they perceive it to be an easier way to get into law school, or just a BA to get ‘a job’ – those students are not suffering in teh same way as students that really NEED school.

    There is no justifying the strike on those grounds – it is tragic to imagine that done to one person – let alone the number that are being affected that way. But to suggest that number is 50K is playing politics with the great mass of students who I have shown little sympathy for. They are an ‘externality’ – to use the corporate parlance; one which both sides have chillingly calculated for – and one that have, despite some attempts to mobilize them, failed to galvanize in a meaningful way – I would suspect for the reasons I have cited throughout the strike. Again, something I wish were different- but have little power to change.

    Maybe you disagree with me, but then how do you account for a lack of student involvement in this strike?

  69. theowne

    Hey, Pally, how about you stop generalizing students with your little anecdotes?

  70. brutal

    @ pally wally – see above

  71. Pally Wally

    I think what I’m doing is actually a critique of generalizations of students by others. How are you reading it otherwise?

  72. Flying J

    York’s Faculty of Ed program is a joke. York as an academic institution is a joke. That is why I transferred out of York after my first year and went to a far superior school. However, because one of my teachables is offered at very few schools in Ontario, I found myself back at York hoping their Faculty of Ed program would be better. But I was wrong. Even if the year is academically ruined, my education has not been compromised at all. That’s because I was not receiving a quality education at York to begin with. I just hope that this strike exposes York for what it truly is- a money grubbing institution that takes no interest in the lives of the students that attend the university.

    Pally Wally,
    I am one of those students that would love to receive a quality education, but at this point I just want the credentials because you and 95% of York’s teaching staff have proven to be ineffective and incapable of providing a quality education to students that actually desire such. My guess is that CUPE doll probably belongs to the 5% of teachers that actually care at Jyorke. (That’s York and Joke combined in case you merely thought it was a typo).

  73. Cupe Doll

    @Pally Wally & Flying J

    Honestly and even thoughtfully said, above. Surprised.

    I’d rather not dwell on the question of what is and is not valuable in university education @ York. Be this year lost or found — it’s moot this academically ruined year. Dwelling why & how ruined makes me far more angry than thoughtful. But since you 2 raised the question honestly, I’ll respond. Briefly.

    It sounds like you 2 disagree. Summarily paraphrasing, 1 says student education isn’t much positive value @ York — because students there don’t make the most of it. Other 1 says student education isn’t much positive value @ York — because nothing positive gets provided to students there.

    See? It only sounds like you 2 disagree. Since you agree students’ education @ York is supposed to be a positive value — and only disagree whose fault the lack of positive value is.

    I disagree with both you 2. In first couple years @ York, students’ education ought primarily be a negative value. To undo the damage and liberate students’ minds from (formative) years of high-school indoctrination.

    Look. High-school teaching entails keeping the young off the streets — and out of trouble. But for brief enlightening flashes — “great high-school teachers” — high-school is a truly dark warehousing of young minds. And I know more early university instructing resembles high-school teaching now. But such infantilizing can only go so far — since students are legally adults paying their own way. Our first university instructing job remains as it was. To encourage students towards the light of meaning — and away from merely repeating what we’d rather hear.

    For myriad causes, regular first university years @ York are not long enough to get students properly started towards lights of reasoning. Almost. Not quite. This year? Forget about it.

    That’s it for me on this huge subject. Only got into it even this briefly here because you 2 raised the question honestly.

  74. Sho

    @ Flying J

    “I am one of those students that would love to receive a quality education, but at this point I just want the credentials because you and 95% of York’s teaching staff have proven to be ineffective and incapable of providing a quality education to students that actually desire such”

    I SO agree
    some of my TAs just dont give a rats ass

  75. Flying J

    CUPE doll,
    Thanks for your response. I appreciate your thoughts on the issue.

  76. Pally Wally

    This is a better way to go about things.

    I would say that teachers at York are doing an overall very good job at attending to the needs of incoming students.

    I think it is a difficult task to open the eyes of students, but I disagree with you again. Students come to university – indeed, to any situation, at different levels of preparedness; it is up to good teachers to be able to broker these differing needs in ways that inspire and engage all, or at least as many, of the students as possible.

    In other words: some students are all ready engaged in the critical process when they get here, and they aren’t being ‘ruined’ by this massive inconvenience, at least not in the educational sense. That, however, is a small minority.

    I am encouraged by your words CUPEDoll, I took a rather cynical perspective on this strike, and I have admired your position throughout, even as we have had rather heated bouts.

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