“I will not be patient”: Students Rally at Queen’s Park

Humber students supporting faculty. Credit: A. Weir

The #StudentsFirst rally, hosted by the College Student Alliance, took place at Queen’s Park on November 1. Students from thirteen colleges attended, many of whom came from colleges outside of the GTA, with representation from Centennial, Fleming, St. Lawrence, Fanshawe, Niagara, Confederation, Sault, Humber, Seneca, George Brown, Sheridan, Durham, and Conestoga colleges.

The College Student Alliance maintains neutrality towards both the CEC and Faculty Union, which they believe is the best means of engaging in open and honest dialogue with all sides. Speakers at the rally focused primarily on putting student’s needs first, with members of the NDP, PC, and Green parties all voicing their support for students, criticizing the Liberal government’s lack of intervention, sharing frustration, and stressing the need to return students to the classroom and work placement as soon as possible.

Few speakers discussed the demands of faculty or comments from the CEC, however, and some students at the rally voiced concerns with this afterward.

“We want transparency throughout the bargaining process […] Yes, we’re losing out, but our faculty are being disrespected and the rally failed to address the larger issue,” a student from Humber commented. “The parties spoke about how they’re supporting students, but not really faculty issues.”

With the intention of reminding both the CEC and Faculty Union that students are the “third party at stake,” representatives from the CSA strongly encouraged both parties to return to the table with the intention to reach a resolution quickly. The President of the CSA, Joel Willet, urged both parties to seek arbitration if no agreement is made within a week.