Antigonish: Today, the StFX Students’ Union released an open letter concerning the ongoing faculty strike at St. Francis Xavier University calling for open arbitration.
Here's the letter that was sent out:
As the StFX Students’ Union witnesses the StFX Administration and the StFXAUT reach an impasse in negotiations we demand that both parties seek open arbitration in order to facilitate an immediate return to the classroom for students. The StFX Administration and StFXAUT have been at the table for eight months, and have failed to produce a reasonable settlement. Time is now a critical factor for our members who desperately want to be back in the classroom and salvage their term. Students cannot risk allowing unproductive negotiations to continue with blind faith that both parties will come to an agreement before students lose this semester.
We are not on the side of the administration or faculty; we are on the side of students. The past fifteen days have had detrimental effects on students’ academic experience, mental health, and the StFX community. So far twelve days of classes and over $2.4 million of students’ tuition have been sacrificed. This cannot continue.
In seeking open arbitration, the remaining items in negotiation will be considered by an independent third-party who will craft a settlement that includes aspects of each parties outstanding offers. An arbitrator's decision is legally binding and allows for an immediate return to classes - where students belong.
Furthermore, open arbitration allows for both parties to fine tune their demands and, in our opinion, offers the best chance for productive input that will settle this labour dispute. It is evident that a timely settlement, in the best interest of the StFX community, is unlikely due to the deterioration of relationships at the negotiating table. Because of this, it is apparent that both parties require external assistance and open arbitration is the way to achieve this.
On behalf of our students, we implore the StFX Administration and the StFXAUT to consider the impact the last fifteen days have had on our community and enter into open arbitration.
The StFX Students’ Union Executive