October 30, 2017 5:38 pm

Fanshawe College student writes letter slamming Kathleen Wynne over college strike

WATCH: Students call on Premier to enact back-to-work legislation

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With the Ontario college faculty strike entering its third week amid no sign of a breakthrough, one London, Ont. college student has written to Premier Kathleen Wynne to complain about her government’s inaction, in a letter shared with Global News.

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READ MORE: No new talks scheduled as Ontario colleges strike enters week 3

In the letter, Fanshawe College student Julian Ghloum says Wynne and Deb Matthews, minister of advanced education and skills development, haven’t done enough to pressure the College Employer Council to negotiate with the OPSEU.

“I think it’s unfair that our livelihoods are at risk while the resolution to this conflict hasn’t even begun,” writes Ghloum, who is pursuing a graduate certificate in insurance and risk management.

“My future is being held hostage, and my hard-earned money used to pay tuition is being wasted. I’m trying to build a better future for myself, as are 500,000 other college students.”

Ghloum told Global News that the strike is a massive blow for students like him who enrolled in college courses in part to prepare for professional exams, and now have to do so without the help of their instructors.

“Not having classes forces us to try and learn this material on our own, and prepare for the national exams without their much-valued instruction. It puts us at a big disadvantage and the exams are hard enough as it is,” he said. “We have absolutely no contact with any of our professors and it’s making us very anxious.”

WATCH: Ontario college faculty strike enters third week

He added that the impasse has made life especially difficult for international students, who he says make up the majority of his classmates.

“It’s hard enough coming to a foreign country to study, but having to worry about how a prolonged strike might affect their future is not something international students coming to this great country should have to worry about,” Ghloum said.

READ MORE: Ontario college strike won’t hurt international students’ immigration status: officials

In his letter, Ghloum warned Wynne that she runs the risk of facing the ire of students and their families at the next provincial general election.

“If the lack of government involvement continues, you can guarantee to have lost my vote, and I would safely bet that a large majority of the 500,000 students affected by this strike, as well as the parents supporting their children in their pursuit of education, would feel the same,” Ghloum wrote.

“I voted for the Liberal government, but the longer the lack of government intervention persists, the more I lose faith in your leadership.”

WATCH: Ontario college faculty strike enters third week

On Thursday, OPSEU Local 110 marched to Matthews’ office to call on her to force the college employer back to the negotiating table. Similar protests were held elsewhere in Ontario, including outside Toronto’s Queen’s Park.

OPSEU has maintained it’s ready to resume talks, but the College Employer Council hasn’t been in touch to arrange discussions.

Wynne hasn’t commented on whether she is considering enacting back-to-work legislation.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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