Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/11/2011 (3632 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Frustration rained down on Brandon University as parents and students converged Monday morning to demand an end to the 27-day faculty strike.
At dawn, students filled an 18th Street campus flower garden with Styrofoam tombstones, each one representing a class cancelled due to the labour dispute, and held a short funeral for the potential loss of their semester.
One even laid flowers at the Brandon University cement sign.
"We are losing our education and that’s a basic human right," music student Sabrina Langevin said. "So our big tombstone, front and centre, says ‘Here lies the hopes and dreams of students.’ We are just hoping to …put pressure on both sides of the bargaining table to bargain and to get this over with.
"Students are mourning the loss of their classes. I know lots who have just dropped out because they have lost so much time."
Then, at about 8:30 a.m., more than 150 parents and students marched in front of Clark Hall to demand both sides come to an agreement soon.
"I have a daughter going to university that we scrimped and saved to get her here and her education is shot," said Kay Longstaff, whose anger about the situation brought her to tears.
That anger was shared by Jeannie Robertson.
"Who’s going to send their kids here?" an exasperated Robertson asked the crowd. "If I had the opportunity to do it now, I’d never do it again. I could pay to have them live somewhere else and still be further ahead."
Robertson said she had three children who are BU students, and the labour dispute has cost the university its reputation.
"No one is going to come here and no one is going to have jobs (at Brandon University) if they don’t have people going here," Robertson said. "If you don’t get this term in, you can’t go next term. So then they lose all that tuition from next term and then who’s going to come here? No one."
Rick Chrest addressed the crowd from the steps of Clark Hall, reading a letter that will be sent to Premier Greg Selinger.
"The strike has ruined the semester for the students of Brandon University," Chrest said.
"They are studying on their own, but they are faced with the threat of getting poor marks despite their best efforts. The effects of the strike have caused irreversible damage that is likely to affect the remainder of their post-secondary education.
"We believe there is a systemic problem between the administration and the faculty, resulting in this frustrating, repetitive loss of services which needs to be corrected."
Brandon West Progressive Conservative MLA Reg Helwer showed up at the protest and spent time talking with the demonstrators.
"It’s the first one I’ve seen that supports the students," Helwer said of his decision to appear at the rally.
"I’ve been trying to draw attention that the students are the ones paying the price here. I think you have a couple of people in this negotiation who are set in their ways and that’s their right, but the students are paying the price."
While Helwer joined the protest, Brandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell was not seen at the rally nor did he return phone calls seeking comment.
A student rally scheduled for Monday afternoon in the Occupy the Courtyard campground on campus failed to generate the same interest.
Only two students who weren’t already living there during the strike bothered to show up.
"I think the fact a few people showed up shows how much faith people have lost in the university and in their ability to end the strike," music student Nathan Layh said.