Ontario college students deserve better

This year, all Ontario college faculty chose to strike in order to better the future of college employment. According to reports in The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, 70 per cent of college faculty in Ontario are part-time workers.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) fought to address this issue when negotiating the college faculty contract.

With the strike lasting five-weeks, hard-worked investments by Canadian and international students, parents, guardians and/or other family members were left to wait it out.

Change.org, a website made for those who not only have opinions on pressing issues but would like to take it one step further, provides the opportunity to create online petitions.

The platform was used by students to call on a reimbursement of student tuition. The petition asked for students to receive $30 a day back for everyday the strike continued.

In response, the college system offered students the opportunity to drop out and receive reimbursement. They chose to reward failure rather than champion students.

This was not fair. Condensing and stretching the college semester does not equal fair compensation for students who choose to push toward success.

Yes, the government did acknowledge the opinions made by students but, offering the chance to drop out is not the correct solution.

Although college students are technically adults, some are still straight out of high school and are experiencing decision-making and freedom for the first time. A blow like this can cause some to cave under pressure, even with support from faculty and family.

Not to mention the impact a blow like this can have to those who struggle with mental illness. The level of anxiety students face is already enough. Why choose to direct them to more pain by making it easy for them to drop out after being so close to finishing their semester?

We are living in a world where opinions are what most cling to: social media is flooded with opinion more than ever before. One short video can spark outrage, positive emotion, get others on board, or cause the opinion maker to be destroyed in the comments.

But people with opinions can also push the thought process of those who don’t have a lot of opinions or never concern themselves with issues beyond what to have for lunch. These people call on change and impact the world for the better.

Without opinions, no change would happen. Life would continue on the same and we would not have the rights we have today. History would be much different. This is why opinions matter.

Ontario students deserve better than the option to drop out but that is not the option we were given. So on we go to pursue our dreams and attempt to live up to the world’s employment standards. As students, we should all have an opinion on this.

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Shanelle is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. She is passionate about writing and telling stories. She enjoys the daily news, music, travel and creating multi-media content. In her spare time she works at a local retirement residence and volunteers within the community.