Capilano University strike ends, students petition for optional exams

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Image: Final exams via Shutterstock

The full-scale instructor strike at Capilano University has come to an end after the university administration and the union agreed to resolve the dispute through non-binding mediation.

All three university campuses will reopen on Tuesday morning with full services reinstated. More importantly, final exams originally scheduled to begin on Monday will now start on Thursday with a compressed nine day exam schedule.

However, the decision to resume exams is not sitting well with many of the university’s 7,000 students, who were caught by surprise by the labour dispute at the worst time possible.

An online petition for optional exams has been making its rounds since the weekend and already garnered more than 1,500 signatories.

“Students will now have multiple exams crunched into a single day possibly, this is leaving less room for preparation,” said Capilano University student Asif Din, the petition initiator, told Vancity Buzz.

“It has been noted that many students had planned their work schedules around exams to maintain their ways of life as well. Some have also mentioned on social media that they have multiple exams at the same time on the same date.”

There have been hundreds of comments by students in the petition’s comments section, with many students complaining that their grades are at risk with a week of review classes canceled due to the strike.

Others criticized the university for how it will impact with their prearranged work, family and travel plans:

Meghan McMillan: “I’m signing because with the exams being held next week I am now missing 5 shifts at work and will be missing 10 days of work during my practicum. I need to work to make money while I can before I am off in my practicum. We all work and need to make a living, this is directly affecting the students and is completely unfair.”

Kyle Jackson: “This strike has left my family without child care, leaving me with no opportunity to study. A revised examination schedule with no notice does not work with my wife’s schedule, nor does it work with our available child care. I do not have the option of writing exams outside of the original schedule. I will have to take zeros.”

Jonathan Muller: “I’ve made commitments to projects in which I’m required to travel outside of the country. These are once in a lifetime opportunities that I am not going to pass up due to the University’s poor judgement and planning.”

“It only makes sense at this point, that we students are given a right to choose with all the poor notice we have been given,” Din adds.

Before the strike suspension announcement, Dr. Richard Gale, Capilano University’s Vice-President of Academic and Provost, issued the following statement to Vancity Buzz over the matter of final exams:

Exam-related decisions must take into account what is possible given the University’s circumstances, as well as what course of action will ensure all our students complete their courses and programs so that nothing keeps them from the next step in their educational plan.

There are more than 7000 students at Cap, and each student has unique needs and circumstances. We hear that students are frustrated with the uncertainty around the final exam schedule. We always encourage students to voice their opinions—even more so in challenging situations such as this one.

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