An open letter to FES Dean by Master’s students 1

March 7, 2018

Dear Dean de Costa,

As students of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, we are writing to ask that the Faculty suspend classes for the duration of the CUPE 3903 strike, in following with other academic departments across the University.

We do not consider non-action in this situation to be a neutral stance but rather a decision in alignment with the York University administration. By allowing classes to continue, students feel pressured by the administration and their professors to cross the picket line, whether physically or electronically. The decision by FES to continue with classes despite the strike undermines the authority of CUPE 3903.

Our faculty has been the most affected by the 800 graduate student jobs that were cut over the past two years. Hundreds of us who are graduate students in FES have lost the opportunity to gain crucial work experience as graduate or research assistants, as well as the health insurance and benefits that allow students to continue their studies. Many of us will now graduate without any academic work experience. This strike is going forward in part to demand that the University return these jobs. As students who should be members of CUPE 3903 currently or in future years, we see our solidarity as a critical part of this strike.

The Department of Equity Studies has stated that they “cannot in good faith provide education which is inconsistent and lacking in integrity, where some students are being taught, albeit without the kind of curriculum and pedagogy they were promised, while others are being deprived outright because of the conviction of their conscience.”

The Department of Sociology and the Graduate Programme in Sociology has said that the strike will “put students in a difficult situation, creating uncertainty for many [and] that by suspending classes, we can create clarity for students in our department.”

The School of Social Work has said that the “inconsistencies about which courses will continue leads to confusion and unfairness to students.”

The Department of Politics has argued that, “the suspension of all classes for the duration of the strike will minimise the chances of dangerous incidents on the picket lines, which have occurred in previous strikes.”

All of these departments also agree that TAs and CUPE instructors are integral to our programs and without their contribution, the integrity of our courses cannot be maintained.

We ask that the faculty align itself with its mandate and act as a faculty that is “dedicated to inspiring active-learners and engaged citizens… that respects and values insight, creativity, justice, and diversity and that works to promote significant social and environmental change toward the creation of a more equitable and sustainable world.” We ask that the faculty immediately suspend all classes for the duration of the strike for the safety and integrity of our students.


FES Students

Kristina Hedlund, MES
Jessica Buckley, BES
Zoë Dodd, MES
Cal Caesar, MES
Robert Wiseman, MES
Grant Calder, MES
Jenna Davidson, MES
Kayla Ginter, MES
Amarita Singh, MES
Loren March, MES
Monica De Vera, MES
Jassi Ranauta, MES
Thomas Lewallen, MES
Jerrica Gilbert, MES
Enrique Moran, MES
Aida Mas, MES
Omar Elsharkawy, MES
Tim Martin, MES
Alex Gatien, MES
Shelby Kennedy, MES
Rabia Ahmed, MES
Hillary Ashley, MES
Cindy Pham, MES
Melina Damian MES
Sarah Jackson MES
Kusha Dadui, MES
Tai Vo, MES
Alicia Campney, JD/MES
Michelle Chin-Dawe, MES
Maureen Owino, MES
Melissa Sobers, MES

One comment

  1. Pingback: Important links regarding the CUPE 3903 strike « YU Talk

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