Thursday, October 02, 2008

Strike Aside: When the Blame Comes

Explanation - I Demand One Demotivational Poster

So I been thinking, Windsor. On Wednesday it was reported that the admin and WUFA were headed back to the bargaining table, yet classes were still canceled for the remainder of the week. Couple that with Rogers mentioning that even if a deal was reached it would take at least 48 hours for the union to ratify it. Perhaps I'm being optimistic, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if [THIS IS PURE CONJECTURE!] you're all back in classes by Wednesday at the latest.

But let's not pat ourselves on the back just yet, Windsor. There's no denying this whole fiasco has been one of the more epic clusterf*cks to visit the university in some time, possibly in the entire time I've been keeping an eye on it. And it's going to do some damage on a couple levels.

1. University vs. Students
The most recent concern on most of your minds is what happens to your money, and by now most of you probably know the answer: you ain't getting it back. The University is guaranteeing you will get your full semester; you're still getting what you paid for, just not when you expected it. At least that's what they told psychology student Katrina Fotopoulos when she tried to withdraw for the year. Is it bullshit reasoning? Of course, but you expected that, it's bureaucracy!

I don't doubt that the University will go to the ends of the earth to provide the extra resources to give you the means to make up the time lost. But that's just it: you've still gotta make it up. For some of you, that's just a pain in the ass, for others it's time where you would otherwise be working, making money to pay for your education, time that you now have to take off from your job. In either case, how likely is it you'll be holding a grudge against someone, either faculty or admin? It certainly won't help that reputation, campus morale issue they trot out from time to time.

2. University vs. City
The relationship between this university and its host city is becoming increasingly fascinating as the years go on. Sometimes, the school gets hailed as a beacon of progress, moving the city forward into the future; other times it's the ivory tower populated with intellectual elites [that means you too, students, make no mistake] that have no concern for the regular people and don't want any.

I first started thinking about the public perception of this dispute when I went looking online to see if the esteemed Star editorial cartoonist Mike Graston had bothered to weigh in on it. And he sure did, back on September 26, summing up an opinion I suspect is shared by more people on the streets than WUFA would care to admit [a quick glance at the more outspoken, if grammatically worrisome, comments on the Star's website would suggest the same].

Don't forget people are still irritated that Uncle Ross opted not to build the new engineering downtown [a decision I still agree with]; now that they're being asked to sympathize with profs still making $539 a week in strike pay [I don't think anyone on the picket's missing any meals] while they're kids are left dangling in the wind. Not a recipe for goodwill on either side.

I am in no way saying that I've gone all anti-WUFA. My personal distaste for unions in these economically precarious time notwithstanding, there's been too much shadowy talk of issues left out of the admin's public negotiating for me to believe it was all about money. I've spoken with Brian Brown in past years, he's stand up and I am sure did not take putting a strike vote to the membership lightly; whatever was left out of that full page newspaper ad must have been important.

But the fact remains, the past three weeks have been a disaster for this university, and while I have all the faith that student apathy will run its course and put this hardship out of your minds by the time you're writing midterms [whenever that might be] I fear the public damage done to the institution will be much harder to shake.

Check back, when we know something, you'll know it.


Blogger Rogers said...

Hey brother, you got plagarized!

See more:

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery?

4:41 PM


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