As an alumni and current graduate student I want to make it clear that I am extremely disappointed by emails and media postings from both you and the University administration this past week. The message portrayed in emails and interviews conducted by the media has shown a defensive and in some cases even manipulative and threatening administration.
From: Jocelyn Egan
Sent: Friday, February 01, 2013 12:38 PM
To: Alumni Affairs
Cc: Nick Head-Petersen – President; Rachel Mitchell – Vice President Executive; StFX Students’ Union; stfxaut
Subject: Re: Update from StFX
Dear Alumni Affairs,
As an alumni and current graduate student I want to make it clear that I am extremely disappointed by emails and media postings from both you and the University administration this past week. The message portrayed in emails and interviews conducted by the media has shown a defensive and in some cases even manipulative and threatening administration. One that is trying to ensure that alumni and students think the AUT are the “bad guys” and that unless make a stand in telling the AUT to end the strike, it will never end, the future reputation of StFX will be doomed and/or tuition will have to increase in order to afford the AUT’s demands. This makes me extremely frustrated. In your email, salary increase demands were the main AUT demand discussed. As I understand, this is a very small portion of what is being asked by the AUT. Through discussion with faculty members it has been explained to me that the early retirement buy-outs that the AUT has proposed would help make other demands affordable for the University. I do not know a lot about business, but I do know that when a business is not doing well the people at the top usually have to take pay cuts in order to ensure that the business stays afloat. Why are the demands so unreasonable then? I don’t think they are, and I wish this was better communicated to both students and alumni.
If anything, the future of the University is doomed because of the emphasis that is being put on the StFX brand and not on the academic programs. Responses have been made by the University in regards to frustrations vocalized by AUT members, students and alumni about money spent on new University infrastructure. I realize that money for infrastructure and HR come from different money pots, as has been pointed out. Infrastructure money cannot be spent on academics, fair enough. That is not why we are angry. We are angry that the University makes it seem like we are proud to wear our X-Rings because of the buildings we were taught in or the residences we lived in. We are not. We are proud to wear our X-Rings because of the education we received while at StFX, the relationships we have made, and how both of these have helped shape us into the people we are.
Academic programs will suffer if the University does not support them. Currently the University will not guarantee replacements for faculty members that leave or that go on sabbatical. This is why certain courses may not be offered. This means certain academic programs may cease to exist at StFX. This has an impact on the quality of the degree students will receive. The current and future student body should know that these negotiations therefore have an affect on the quality of their education.
I wear my X-Ring for the quality of education I received from caring and passionate professors, lecturers and laboratory instructors. I hope that future generations of students will have the same opportunity I did because of the AUT members that are standing up for proper benefits for themselves so that they can continue to give students a high quality education.
On 2013-01-29, at 10:06 PM, StFX Alumni Association wrote:
As many of you may have heard, StFX and its faculty union have been negotiating a new collective agreement. On January 28, the StFX faculty walked off the job to strike, resulting in the cancelation of all classes for students. StFX continues to seek an agreement and classes could commence anytime. We hope the faculty union executive will consider continuing classes while negotiations continue so as to not disrupt student’s academic careers.
As StFX alumni, we know the university is committed to resolving this issue as quickly as possible, minimizing any impact to the entire StFX community, and most importantly, students. This strike will hurt StFX, both in reputation and future recruitment. StFX is one of the top universities in the country. Our experiences have forged a bond that unites us all. Now is the time to stay positive and provide more support than ever towards our great institution.
This strike will soon be behind us. Our faculty will remain among the best; our administration, strong and focused on improving our beloved university as we go forward.
The StFX Communications department has developed a website to keep you informed of the latest updates: www.stfx.ca/informed<http://www.alumni.stfx.ca/redirect.aspx?linkID=465&eid=25748>. Within this site, you will find negotiation updates as they become available, as well as FAQs, and the ability to provide your email address to subscribe to email updates regarding the strike.
The University’s offer to faculty, which includes a 6.9% salary increase for the top earners and between 16.18% and 21.87% increase with steps for 62% of other faculty is made despite a series of funding cutbacks totaling 10% by the provincial government to post-secondary education, including a further cut of 3% this year. It is also made at a time when the University is facing a substantial deficit and limited projected revenue growth.
Forever Hail and Health,
StFX Vice President, Advancement
President, StFX Alumni Association
St. Francis Xavier University
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5
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