Rally for NS Needs Students – CANCELLED

Unfortunately, today’s rally has been cancelled, because of the inclement weather. The plan was always for the rally to be the first of other advocacy and education events in the NS Needs Students Campaign. These events will continue, but the rally will not be rescheduled due to conflicts with other unrelated events.
Below is the text of the speech Karen would have presented at the rally:

Hello Nova Scotia students! both in person or online.

We have all made the transition to online education but at what cost?Students – you are paying more (3% more this year) even though you are getting less while not being able to participate in-person in classes, at libraries and in other on-campus activities. Many of you have not been able to get summer jobs, which adds to the cost of this pandemic for you.

Faculty continue to put in their best efforts, often juggling kids at home at the same time. But teaching remotely is a steep uphill learning curve that takes more time, particularly with large class sizes.

Students and faculty understand that there is a cost for everyone during this pandemic. That is why the government introduced the CERB and other benefits. But where is the emergency benefit for students? for faculty? for post-secondary education?

The federal government has not provided emergency funding for universities. This impacts all of us. Students are suffering and so are precarious employees, many of whom are your instructors.

Without government funding, university administrators have been hiring fewer instructors. This impacts you. You now have fewer course options as courses have been cancelled or you find yourselves in larger classes as course sections have been merged. Teaching more students online in fewer courses results in layoffs of part-time instructors and impacts your education. Larger class sizes also increases the workload and stress for remaining instructors, which impacts your learning even more.

The pandemic has brought into focus the precarity and vulnerability of many aspects of our society including post-secondary education. Student tuition keeps rising every year at a rate that is much greater than the increase in salary for part-time instructors. Where is the money going? Certainly not to many of your instructors. At some universities in Nova Scotia, about a third of your courses are taught by part-time instructors who have to apply to teach every course, are paid the worst stipends in Atlantic Canada and among the worst in the country, and have virtually no benefits. They are excellent professors, but the precarious and vulnerable nature of their employment impacts YOUR education.

We need to freeze or lower student tuition so that ALL members of our society can attend university. We need to substantially increase government funding so that post-secondary education does not have to rely on tuition from international students and can afford to provide all employees with a decent wage and benefits. Our working conditions are your learning conditions. Post-secondary education should be affordable for all faculty and all students!