The mediator between the two sides at York University broke off talks Saturday night, as the strike by teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants continues in its fourth week.
Attempts to end a strike at York University ended yesterday when a mediator suspended talks between the school and its striking teaching staff.
The talks, which had restarted Thursday and continued Friday and yesterday, were called off last night.
In somewhat related news, the senate has approved Law students at York’s law school, Osgoode Hall, return to classrooms. The time-sensitive nature of a Law student’s course of study and job-related requirements were part of the arguments put forward to argue that the return was necessary. I’m not sure that you can make this argument for law students and not make it for other undergraduates. But I digress… Making this decision easy is the fact that most professors at Osgoode are not members of YUFA, the university’s faculty association. The slow resumption of classes on-campus is not totally unexpected. York international business students have already resumed classes, again, taught by instructors not a part of YUFA.
Last Friday at the Northwest Gate I experienced my scariest “line rage” moment to date when a Seneca student, whose classes that are still on-going, pulled up into the “out lane” saying she needed to get on campus quickly to get medication. She had said the same thing on Thursday and was allowed through the line1. Someone recognized her on Friday and suggested that it appeared as though she could be telling a fabricated story. When it was suggested that she might be lying, she got out of her car, begin yelling at the picketers to “get out of my fucking way” and dragged the gate open to try and drive though. When the gate was closed by fellow picketers, the student got more and more upset, yelled at more people on the line and at one point said “Yeah, but what if I had been sick?” She called women “whores” and men “fuckers” and, after a lot of yelling, got back into her car and peeled off in the direction of another gate.
I relate this story because I’m a little worried about escalating conflict at picket lines now that more students could be coming back to campus. It does suck for Seneca students who have to make their way through the picket line to attend classes. If more and more York students return and feel as though they have to be somewhere at a certain time (as attending class often necessitates), then I can imagine it’s going to get more heated on the lines. As outlined in the link above, LLB students are covered by the senate’s ruling (see subsection 2.2.1) that students cannot be punished academically for not crossing a picket line. This means that law students who do not attend class cannot be penalized for it.
I hope that students who do feel like they need to cross the picket line to attend class and drive to campus realize that they will be waiting in line for a while and take that extra time into account. I also want to point out, that if anyone takes public transit to campus, they can just walk across the line.
- Its interesting to note that when in a situation like this, the standard that I measure such requests — like a person in a car saying they live on-campus but they don’t have their address with them to prove it — is “Will not letting this person through hurt our position?” If the answer is yes, then I’ve come to the conclusion that expediting them through the line isn’t a bad thing. The difficulty here is that I have to assume that all of these requests are genuine. For me, it’s hard to believe that everyone is truthful about their requests all the time. How can I quickly evaluate a person’s story though? Simply, I can’t. It’s an imperfect system. But I’m not so focused on maintaining the lines to let no exceptions through. And to have a situation where someone is held up when they should have been expedited through the line, then that’s a more egregious error then letting the odd lying prick though [↩]