The Athenaeum does not support any of the views expressed below. This is the opinion of one student and as such is subject to the reader’s discretion.
The ASU’s failure to advocate for the student interest in this critical moment is nothing less than a betrayal of the student body, not to mention its own values. Our classes are canceled indefinitely, everyone is confused, and the future quality of our education is at stake. Times like these are surely when we need to support each other as students the most. But the Acadia Students’ Union, whose legal object is “to act as official organization for the students of Acadia University,”1 has been strikingly silent these past two weeks, leaving us to fend for ourselves.
Some may ask why the ASU, a students’ group, should involve itself in this messy dispute which, at first sight, seems to be only between the University board and the faculty. There are two answers to this question. The first is that we students have paid thousands of dollars for our education, and every day we lose to the strike is worth from $70 to $160, depending on if you’re an international student or not2. This money – your money – is simply disappearing into the void. The second answer is that the faculty are striking because they want to preserve the quality of education and community that Acadia prides itself on. Many of us were drawn to this school by the promise of small class sizes and connection with profs and other students. The university board wants to take this away from us by expanding student enrolment while not guaranteeing a minimum number of full-time faculty or agreeing to hire any Indigenous faculty. Class sizes will inflate, students will rarely have the same professor more than once, and they will continue to lack an Indigenous perspective. If the ASU had put all its efforts into supporting students and faculty since day one, the strike would already be over. Instead, they remain deafeningly silent on the issue, allowing us to lose more and more of our current and future Acadia experience. If the ASU, which we students each pay hundreds of dollars per year to fund, cannot do the right thing and stand up for us, there is little reason for it to even exist.
I call upon the ASU to break their silence and officially support AUFA, the faculty association. More than that, I call upon them to organize: to get students involved in the strike, to communicate with AUFA, and to put pressure on the University administration. The more we work together to advocate for students and faculty alike, the sooner this mess will be over, and the more messes like this we will avoid in the future. Why not start now?
- Incorporation documents of the Acadia Students’ Union, 1967. https://www.theasu.ca/_files/ugd/51975f_062888e067544ccf9e662720f2d2d00a.pdf
- Calculations courtesy of current student Freya Milliken on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007667957787