As the strike continues at the University of New Brunswick, students are most concerned about when they will be getting back to class.
Although the due date for the payment of tuition fees has been postponed indefinitely, students are worried about more than just the cost of missing classes.
“For me the biggest concern is when we’re going to be going back to class. The longer the strike goes the more everyone loses,” said Jake Stoddard, a third-year student at UNB. “The sooner both sides find an agreement they are happy with and the sooner we get back to class, the better.”
The UNB Student Union has been working to keep both parties negotiating in an effort to speed up the process.
“We’re talking to both sides so at the end of the day we’re just pushing that they’re at the table,” said UNBSU president Ben Whitney. “They’re on strike. That’s fine, but we need them to continue negotiating as much as possible so we can get back to class as soon as possible.”
Students in faculties such as education and nursing are worried about the practicum portion of their degrees. With no one to teach, they are losing hours of required practical work in their fields.
“For nursing students, our biggest concern is clinical hours,” said Ashley Stuart, a third year nursing student at UNB.
“The Nurses Association of New Brunswick requires us to have a certain number of hours of clinical to be able to become registered nurses. If we don’t get those by the end of the semester then we can’t advance.”
Students in the final term of their degrees are also feeling the pressure of the possibility of losing the semester.
“My biggest concern is that I graduate,” said Mitra Radmanesh, a fourth-year engineering student at UNB.
“If they cancel the semester, that means I’m going to be coming back for a semester or a full year depending [on what happens].”
Other students are frustrated with the information provided by both the university and the AUNBT.
“I think the efforts both sides are making to sway the students are important in a situation like this. It does get pretty tiresome to read through these emails expecting updates and then only getting one side of the story,” Stoddard said.
“I appreciate being informed, but it’s better to get the information from independent sources, rather than from either negotiating party.”
This is something the UNBSU is addressing.
“The biggest thing we’re trying to do is to be the biggest source of information to students because there’s a lot of info coming from both sides and when both sides are in a dispute and putting out information it’s bound to be skewed,” Whitney said. “So we’re trying to give the most concise and legitimate information we can give.”
Though it’s not required that students keep up with their course work, some students are taking the opportunity to crack open their text books.
“If we’re going to lose class time I guess the more we know the better, so we can move faster and hopefully lose as little content as possible,” Stoddard said.