HSAD students grow
frustrated with strike
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 9, 2017
Students at the Haliburton School of Art and Design are frustrated that the faculty strike, now in its fourth week, is affecting their semester and learning experience. There’s a decline in morale from September, when studio spaces were teeming with their peers and teachers.
“It’s really sad to see,” said Emmily Wylie, a 20-year-old from Timmins. Wylie is one of nine students in the 15-week fibre arts certificate program. It’s the last credit she needs to graduate with a Visual and Creative Arts diploma.
The strike has placed added stress on Wylie, who is unable to visit family and is worried about money. She said she would have found a job by now had she known the labour dispute was going to drag on.
“The course is already so condensed that when we come back, everything is going to be totally squished,” she said.
Wylie said she knows students who have gone back home and want a refund.
“This isn’t the energy that the school really is. I was here last year, and when there’s that constant working you just get into a groove. You need that constant work to find your path as an artist.”
On Tuesday morning, Wylie was working on her craft with two classmates. They are also fed up. First-time student Brenda Philp, 59, travelled from Edmonton to study at the campus. She said she has and will continue to incur a “huge expense” adjusting flights.
“The question of financial compensation is a big one,” said Philp. “I paid my tuition in good faith for a certain product that has not been delivered.”
She believes the two sides should resolve their issues outside of the classroom. Michelle Harris, 57, plans on pulling out of the program due to lost time and wants to return next year to finish.
“I would rather come back next year and finish the weeks I didn’t receive,” said Harris. “That way I’m not stressed, trying to stay until 10 at night.”
Harris is currently juggling her education with a business and family. In an interview, Sandra Dupret, principal and dean of the campus, confirmed the college is considering adding an extra day (Saturdays), offering two courses per week instead of one and extending the semester by a week. They also might put part of a marketing course online.
As usual, students are expected to work on assignments outside of the classroom, she said.
Dupret admits there will be lost time that can’t be made up.
“There’s no getting around that,” she said. Plans haven’t been set yet. The length of the strike is a key deciding factor, said Dupret. “No decisions have been fully finalized until we have an actual idea of how much time we have to recuperate. Our goal is to try to ensure the students are able to complete their year” and get their credentials."
As of Tuesday, she wasn’t aware of any students dropping out. Fleming College has committed to providing “academic accommodations” to students who made travel bookings before Nov. 1 that can’t be changed. For background on the strike, visit thehighlander.ca/hsad-students-unfazed-byfaculty-strike. Students can find updates at flemingcollege.ca/faculty-labournegotiations.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.