British Columbia

VIU strike may cancel winter semester

Officials at Vancouver Island University say they may cancel the entire winter semester and offer students a refund on courses if a strike by the faculty association is not settled by Monday.
Faculty members at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo gather early on during the strike. (CBC)

Officials at Vancouver Island University say they may cancel the entire winter semester and offer students a refund on courses if a strike by the faculty association is not settled by Monday.

The university says contract negotiations with the association have broken off once again and it is doubtful that the semester can be completed without extending it beyond the end of April.

"At the moment, it seems highly doubtful that the semester can be saved without extending it. The university had set April 11 as the latest date by which job action would have to end for the semester to be completed by April 29," according to the university website.

The university says it will only be able to decide if it will extend the semester once the strike is settled.

But since many students will be unable to attend classes beyond April because of work and other commitments, they will be able to get a refund on their courses if they choose.

"Students have already been advised by the registrar that they may apply for penalty-free late-withdrawals and tuition refunds," says the website.

The key issue in the strike has been layoff and hiring policies. The faculty set up picket lines on March 10 after negotiations for a new contract broke down, leaving 18,000 students at four campus in Nanaimo, Cowichan, Parksville and Powell River without classes to attend.

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