After strike, UNB students win rare concession

Money saved on professors to be credited against tuition

Student union advocates at the University of New Brunswick have won a big concession that peers at other universities have failed to achieve.

UNB has agreed to give students the money saved by not paying professors and librarians during a three week strike in January, “in recognition of the hardships and inconvenience it caused them,” according to note published this morning on the UNB website and signed by the university president, chair of the Board of Governors and student representatives. Full-time students were told to expect a lump sum credit on their tuition accounts in excess of $200 and part-time students can expect a smaller amount.

Matthew May, a Brandon University Student Union vice-president, says that’s something he’d like to see discussed if ever there is another strike at his university. During a 45-day strike there in 2011, the second walk-off in three-years, students petitioned unsuccessfully for tuition refunds.

The St. Francis Xavier University Students’ Union was also unsuccessful at getting refunds after a three week strike at the Nova Scotia school in early 2013, says vice-president Emily Miller.

A strike at York University in Toronto that began Nov. 6, 2008 and didn’t end until Jan. 29, 2009—after the province passed back-to-work legislation—did not result in refunds for students who lost weeks of instruction and had exams pushed as late as June. A class action lawsuit seeking damages for lost teaching time was denied.

UNB will make up for some of the lost teaching time by cancelling March break and extending classes to April 17 and exams to April 30, pending approval from the university’s senators.

Faculty at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. have been on strike for two weeks now.

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