OPSEU CAAT Academic, the union representing faculty at Ontario's 24 public colleges, has been on strike since October 16, 2017. In an editorial published in the Waterloo Region Record on October 25, Conestoga president John Tibbits responded to OPSEU’s assertion that Ontario’s college system is broken — a premise based on the colleges’ use of part-time faculty and the suggestion they are ill-treated and deliver poor value as compared to full-time teachers.
“… to suggest the system is broken is not only incorrect, it's dangerous,” wrote Tibbits.
OPSEU does not represent part-time faculty; Tibbits said union leaders are sacrificing the education of students to advocate for a group they don't represent on issues that are already being addressed through other processes.
“By all indicators, the system is thriving, delivering on the promise of education that works — for students, for industry and for communities,” added Tibbits. “Colleges have become adept at seeking out creative solutions to access essential resources and deliver the quality programming that our students both need and deserve.”
The editorial points to academic control as the greater issue during the strike, and while faculty are essential to academic decision making, they are not the exclusive voice: “This strike is about overturning the provincial college system by subverting the very principles upon which it was established. The role of colleges is — and always has been — to serve industry, workforce and community needs. Our success is the result of collaboration among all stakeholders. Faculty play a critical role, but cannot claim unilateral control over programming decisions.”
Read the full editorial at TheRecord.com.