Dear Fellow Alumni,
My letter to respond to alumni association letter:
Having just read your message, I felt the need to protest. Your recent message regarding the current strike at our alma mater gives the impression that the alumni of StFXU side with the administration rather than the striking faculty. In my case, nothing could be farther from the truth. The faculty have been negotiating a contact for several months now with no resolution in sight. The AUT found itself in a legal position to strike and, finding itself at an impasse with administration, exercised this option. I wonder how much leverage you suppose the AUT would have in negotiations were they to return to a normal class schedule as you suggest? From what I know of the negotiations, the figures you present in your letter do not represent the whole truth and fail to address the real issue of benefits and job security.
In the future, I would request that you contact the alumni and poll them before issuing any such letters/communications. Misleading blanket statements such as the screed your office issued can only serve to inflame rather than resolve the current labor dispute. Also, I would ask that you further consider what Coady/Tompkins would think of your actions? Where would they side, do you suppose?
R. Terry Cameron
B. A., B. Ed.
Tim Lang’s response:
Thanks for your note and always good to hear from alumni. The alumni association is 100% neutral and only hopes that all sides would put student interests first. The association only hope that fair negotiations could possible continue without a disruption to classes. This is not always possible, but that was the hope. But again, the alumni association is neutral and will be sure it only provides updates in future.
Regarding other comments, BOTH sides have been trying to reach an agreement, not just the AUT. (?) Anything published are facts. Some might not like them, but they are facts (meaning what StFX has offered, which most alumni appreciated, and as you might imagine, as most live and understand the tough economic times, they see it as a very good offer. Had we also published the 10% demand from faculty (or up to 17% with steps), it would have made many people frustrated and we don’t want people angry at out great academics. And it is true, there is more to it than this.) The mention of Coady is interesting, as many faculty have been opposed to Coady enhancements, and the antigonish movement was an effort to help those in need, and over a hundred prof’s earning over 100 thousand hardly apply. The majority of our strained budget is academic salaries. That is the way it should be, but not to an extent that students suffer or have to pay more tuition, as the fixed government costs have been in decline. I too wish that we could do more for the lower end, but the higher is unlikely to not want their increase as well. Not many people know this, but because the AUT executive kept telling the general members misinformation, stFX offered to have an independent auditor review. They refused and this speaks volumes. I have many good friends and people I know well in faculty, and I’m only disappointed that the AUT Executive has worked hard at not allowing them to see the facts (won’t even let them vote on the offer), so my friends and people I respect are operating without the truth. Anyway, sorry about the long email and I’m not involved in the negotiations and just hope the rhetoric will stop and we can deal with facts to make StFX stronger.
And again, the alumni association will ensure it is completely neutral in future. Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you at an alumni event at some point in the future.
Timothy Lang, M.A.
Vice President, Advancement
St. Francis Xavier University