Letter from the Board and Staff re: the College Strike

To our members, striking college faculty members, and our community,

The OPIRG Guelph Board of Directors and unionized staff speak with one voice to support our friends and comrades in the various OPSEU unionized workplaces in their strike at colleges across Ontario. In particular, we keep in mind and in solidarity those at Conestoga College here in Guelph and those on the Humber College North Campus where University of Guelph-Humber is located.

This strike has come at a time when academic freedom is on the decline in many areas of academic life while corporatization, casualization of work, and low wages are on the rise across the sector. As decisions are taken out of student and staff hands and placed into corporate and administrative interests, we can look at the college system to see what the whole of higher education will look like down the line.

That’s what college faculty are fighting for. They fight for students and all staff to have a voice in how decisions are made on their campuses. They fight for the same freedom to research and inquire as we say universities have. They fight back against the decline of permanent work on their campuses and the push for more precarity.

A lack of wages, voice, security, and freedom to teach seems like a pretty sorry state of affairs. It’s why faculty unionized in the first place—to fix a broken system that administrators and the Province have allowed the grow without accounting for the people who live, work, and learn around it. This strike is not just a fight for colleges, though—it’s a fight for every higher education institution. What becomes the norm here will have impacts in every place—especially on campuses like Guelph.

But it is not for our self-interest that we should act. OPIRG is an organization devoted to the public interest. To social justice and the fight for it. To bridge our campus and community. For these reasons and all the above, we support college faculty today and the ongoing fight for higher education, in all the battlegrounds to come.

In solidarity,

— OPIRG Guelph Board of Directors and Staff