ANTIGONISH – In response to a request to resolve the current impasse between St. Francis Xavier University administration and the St. FX Association of University Teachers, St. FX president Dr. Sean Riley has agreed to meet with representatives of the union.
Riley, academic vice president and provost Dr. Mary McGillivray and chief negotiator Dr. Robert van den Hoogen will be attending on behalf of the university at the meeting called for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“We’ve made it clear to administration that we want to enter into constructive discussions during tomorrow’s meeting that actually brings us to a fair and equitable settlement for all our members,” said AUT president Peter McInnis in a release.
Earlier Tuesday students at the university sent out a letter calling on teachers and administration to seek open arbitration to get them back to class as soon as possible.
Today, the St. FX Students’ Union released an open letter concerning the ongoing faculty strike at St. Francis Xavier University
“As the St. FX Students’ Union witnesses the St. FX administration and the St. FX AUT 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 letter states.
The St. FX administration and St. FX AUT have been at the table for eight months, and have failed to produce a reasonable settlement, the letter continues, while saying how critical a factor time is.
“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,” they wrote. “The past 15 days have had detrimental effects on students’ academic experience, mental health, and the St. FX community. So far 12 days of classes and over $2.4 million of students’ tuition have been sacrificed. This cannot continue.”
In open arbitration, the remaining items in negotiation would be considered by an independent third party who will craft a settlement that includes aspects of each party’s outstanding offers. An arbitrator's decision is legally binding and allows for an immediate return to classes.