For nearly one month, Dalhousie students lost tutorials, labs and, for some, class time due to the strike by academic workers represented by CUPE 3912.
“Being in the last semester of my undergrad I didn’t know if I was actually going to graduate this semester. I didn’t have grades in as I needed them. It was really chaotic. There was just a lot of ambiguity and none of us were certain of what was going to happen,” says Maya Macnab, a fourth-year student.
Macnab is just one of more than 3,000 Dalhousie students who have signed a petition calling on the university to offer students financial compensation for their missed class time.
The petition was started by the student union.
“I don’t want to be paying for in-person classes if I’m not in the classes, you know? And I feel like it’s pretty fair because it’s a huge financial investment for students,” says Elina Shah, a master’s student at the university.
The student union is demanding a tuition rebate of 40 per cent for courses affected by the strike as a part of its call to action outlined in the petition.
Dalhousie has one of the highest tuition costs in the country.
“Our ask is very reasonable based on precedents set by other universities that recovered from strikes. For example, Mount Allison offered their students a $200 rebate after a week of labour disruption,” says Aparna Mohan, the president of the student union.
A spokesperson for Dalhousie University told Global News in an email that every reasonable step is being taken to ensure students will have the opportunity to earn credit for their courses and “general refunds will not be issued for the semester.”
“It’s really kind of unfair to charge us the full amount when essentially a third of our semester was not up to the educational standard that Dalhousie praises itself on being,” says Niav Cudmore-Lynagh, a second-year Dalhousie student.
The university says it encourages students who may have concerns about their academic progressions or goals to reach out to their academic advisor.