Fall term extended at Fanshawe College as strike nears fourth week

The Oxford Street entrance to Fanshawe College's T Building as seen July 19, 2017.
The Oxford Street entrance to Fanshawe College's T Building as seen July 19, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

As a labour disruption involving thousands of faculty members from Ontario’s 24 colleges nears its fourth week, Fanshawe College officials announced on Friday that they will extend the school’s fall term into late December.

The strike, which began Oct. 15 involving some 12,000 professors, instructors, councilors, and librarians, has impacted classes for more than 500,000 students. OPSEU, the union representing striking faculty, and the College Employer Council resumed negotiations on Thursday for the first time since the strike began.

READ MORE: Fanshawe faculty ‘cautiously optimistic’ as bargaining resumes in college strike

In the hopes of completing as much of the term as possible, assuming a deal is reached soon, class schedules and exams for the fall term have been extended to Fri, Dec. 22, the college said in a strike update on its website.

Story continues below advertisement

“There will be no classes or exams from Saturday, December 23, 2017, to Monday, January 1, 2018,” reads the update. “As soon as additional details are available, we will inform you immediately.”

In addition, students are being asked to hold off on making holiday travel plans as class and exam schedules still need to be reworked. The college is recommending that those who have already made travel plans wait until final exams and assignment dates have been solidified before making itinerary changes.

Fall graduation ceremonies have also been postponed for all campuses as a result of the strike, the college said. A Graduates’ Celebration for London Campus graduates will be held on Nov. 2, while a celebration for Simcoe Campus graduates will be held Nov. 17. Graduation ceremonies for Woodstock and St. Thomas campuses are still to be rescheduled.

READ MORE: Bargaining resumes between striking Ontario faculty and colleges

As for refunds, the college says it will receive direction on the matter from the province once the strike is over.

“It is important to note that no Ontario college student has ever lost their academic year because of a faculty strike,” the college said in the update. “We fully expect that college students will be able to complete their academic year once the strike has ended.”

Story continues below advertisement

OPSEU has called for the number of full-time faculty to match the number of contract faculty, in addition to improvements in job security and no-cost items, such as having a stronger voice in academic-decision making.

The colleges, who had put forward a four-year agreement offering a 7.75 per cent pay bump, have argued matching faculty would add more than $250 million in annual costs.

– With files from Liny Lamberink, Jaclyn Carbone, and The Canadian Press