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1,500 Fanshawe College students dropout following five-week faculty strike

Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

Following a five-week college faculty strike, students were given a two-week deadline to decide whether to continue with the fall term or drop out and receive a full refund.

Well, that two weeks is up, and as of Tuesday morning, 1,500 Fanshawe College students have chosen to withdraw from the semester.

“Of those withdrawals, 1,400 are coming from our full-time post-secondary student population, and 1,000 of those students are first year, first term students,” said Janice Lamoureux, registrar at Fanshawe College.

Fanshawe is treating this as an opportunity for retention, said Lamoureux, and adds they’re focusing on supporting students.

“As a result of [our efforts of support] we’ve been able to meet with 760 students who have indicated their return to Fanshawe either in the winter, spring or fall of 2018,” said Lamoureux.
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Meanwhile, Alaina Fillmore, 18, was in her first year of broadcast journalism when the strike began.

“It’s hard when you’re just starting to get into it, and then [the strike goes] as long as you’ve been in school. It kind of like, ‘Can I do this? Will I remember what to do?’ It’s just a lot of pressure,” she said

Now, Fillmore is unsure of what she’ll be doing when she returns to Fanshawe in the fall.

“After sitting around during the strike, it kind of puts doubts in your mind. With my program, it’s kind of something you have to love, and I didn’t know if I would actually end up doing well after [all the time I missed because of the strike],” she said.”
Alaina Fillmore (right) and her mother Lorraine Fillmore (left) are both feeling the effects of the five-week-long faculty strike. Supplied Photo

While Fillmore will get a full tuition refund, her mother Lorraine explained the loss is more than just monetary.

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“My daughter started questioning whether it was even the right program that she wanted to be in and didn’t know if she wanted to go back. Just the fact that it’s her first year and it’s sort of a disappointment to put her in residence and send her off to college and have this happen,” said Lorraine Fillmore.

The Fillmores are also wondering whether or not they’ll be reimbursed for the money they spent on residence.

“If she doesn’t get money back from residence that’s a big loss for five weeks worth of college,” said Lorraine.

Officials at Fanshawe have said those students who have chosen to withdraw will receive a residence refund for the winter term, forward.

As for the college, they’re not happy with the number of dropouts, but they’re feeling positive about the students they were able to keep.

“We are disappointed by these numbers, but we are also optimistic that we were able to readmit a large number of our students to either attempt the same program or move into a new program,” said Lamoureux.

Of the 760 students returning in 2018, 400 of them will be returning in January.

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