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Sudbury college students taking part in #AssToClass demonstration Thursday

Demonstrators will walk halls of Collège Boréal, attempt to speak to college's president
Striking professors at Collège Boréal Oct. 23. (File)

With an Ontario college faculty strike now in its fifth week, Sudbury college students will take part in a demonstration at Collège Boréal this Thursday at noon as part of the provincewide #AssToClass movement.

“Calling all 500,000 Ontario college students back to class on November 16th at noon,” said the movement's website.

“On November 16th at noon, fill your hallways and classes with the sounds of the student voice. 

“This is not a protest. but a peaceful demonstration of the power and dedication of the student voice, and is aimed as delivering the message that we are ready to learn.”

The group said it recognizes the importance of academic freedom — one of the sticking points in negotiations.

“However, we have asked both OPSEU and the colleges to come to terms on the other issues and suspend the strike while they continue to negotiate the academic freedom clause,” the website said.

One of the organizers of the Sudbury protest, Britt Lamothe, said local students will gather at the Boréal picket lines, and will walk the college's halls and try to speak to the college president.

She said the group also held a protest at Cambrian College last week, and about 35 students attended. Lamothe said she expects better attendance this week, and encourages fellow students to come out.

The strike began Oct. 16. Talks resumed briefly between the College Employer Council and OPSEU, which represents the 12,000 college professors, before breaking down again last week.

The council asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to schedule a vote on its offer, which is happening this week between Tuesday and Thursday.

Lamothe, a Cambrian pre-health student who stands firmly behind her professors, has a somewhat different viewpoint than the #AssToClass group. 

Students have missed so much class at this point, the best thing that could come out of the situation is professors getting a fair deal, she said.

“Even if it ends, we've already lost four weeks at this point,” she said.

“If anybody lost this much class on their own accord, they'd be kicked out of the program, probably kicked out of school.

“So really, I don't know if ending the strike is a positive or not. At this point, it doesn't even matter anymore. To me, in all honesty, the most positive thing would be give them a fair deal, because we deserve a quality education.”

Heidi Ulrichsen

About the Author: Heidi Ulrichsen

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