CORNWALL ONTARIO – In a switch from having to cross a picket line, St Lawrence College students in Cornwall came out Thursday to join the OPSEU (Ontario Public Service Employees Union) picket, to demonstrate their need to have classes resume, as well as to show their support for College Faculty – but not so much for the College Employer which shows no desire to return to the bargaining table.
With no help offered by their own Student Union – that has yet to meaningfully act to represent or advocate for their members since the strike began – students organized themselves through e‑mailings and Face Book to present a public plea for return to studies.
Student picketers came from a range of programs including; Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN); Early Childhood Education (ECE); Personal Support Worker (PSW); Paramedic; and others.
Students want the College, the Government of Ontario, and the public to know, the damage being done to their life plans, finances, and career goals.
For while the College sits on paid student tuitions, students right now are dealing with financial uncertainty, and see future earnings and careers being pushed further and further away.
One picketing student, who left a paying job to pursue studies toward a better career, has had her OSAP (Ontario Student Assistant Plan) meant for food, rent and living expenses of a family, held back because the College has cancelled classes.
In another case, a nursing student has been deprived of an on-site hospital clinical training day (already paid at $250 per day), and sees more lost money and delayed training ahead if classes are not soon resumed.
There may have been hot dogs, camaraderie and a bit of sunshine on the picket line… But this week’s student demonstration at SLC Cornwall, speaks to the seriousness and stress of an education, career, and personal finance under siege.
Editor’s Note: A St. Lawrence College Student Union representative, when asked, was not open to comment on matters related to the current interruption of studies.