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UNBSU working on back-to-work protocol

The University of New Brunswick Student Union is working on a back-to-work protocol with the university for when the strike ends.

In an open meeting with students Thursday night, the UNBSU answered students’ general questions about the strike as well as what they’re currently doing about the situation.

“We’re speaking with a number of different parties and working on a back-to-work protocol of the things we’d like to see going back into the start of school, plus a number of other things,” said UNBSU president Ben Whitney.

This back to work protocol will include a 48-hour notice before classes would resume. It will also include a timeline for when professors can expect work due and extending deadlines for adding and dropping courses.

When finalized, any changes to the academic calendar will also be included in the protocol.

“In terms of deciding how your term is affected, whether March break will be cancelled, whether a term will be extended, that will be determined through senate,” said UNBSU vice-president internal Jenn Connolly. “You’ll have student senators there backing up your interests to ensure your term’s the best it can be.”

Depending on how long the strike lasts, the university could look to compressing the semester. If that couldn’t work, they would look to taking away March break. The final option would be to extend the term. However, Whitney said this is nothing official.

In terms of finances, UNBSU vice-president finance Marc Gauvin said students are losing around $48 worth of education each day.  He said other schools in the past have asked for a tuition rebate for prolonged missed time during a strike.

“This is something we’ve brought up, and the Saint John campus is also interested in pursuing, and we’ll be in talks with the university more as job action appears to be ending,” Gauvin said.

The UNBSU is still encouraging students to refrain from paying tuition, which the deadline has been suspended indefinitely.

Whitney said the UNBSU is still working with the university on what will happen with nursing students who need to require a certain amount of clinical hours to graduate.

“It’s really going to depend on what happens,” Whitney said. “We’re talking to the nursing society and our nursing councillor a lot in working around that, because we know that’s one program that’s short for time on any kind of movements. So that’s not firmly figured out yet, and that’s something we’re pushing for.”

The UNBSU’s proposals for the back-to-work protocol will be submitted to the university and the professors’ union AUNBT.

Vice-president student services Chantel Whitman also said at the meeting that UNBSU services would see no changes, with the exception of SafeRide, which, if the strike prolongs, may drop down to one van.

Thursday night’s meeting was part of the UNBSU’s efforts to provide students with unskewed information about the negotiations.

“I think both parties believe that what they’re doing is right,” Whitney said.

“But I think at the end of the day there’s no one out there advocating solely for the student body, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”


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