Ottawa

Students left in the lurch after La Cité suspends profs

Days after returning to class following a five-week faculty strike, students in the respiratory therapy program at La Cité have been dealt another blow after the college suspended their instructors.

Respiratory therapy instructors suspended without pay after refusing to condense semester

Respiratory therapy students fear missing out on crucial instruction 0:45

Days after returning to class following a five-week faculty strike, students in the respiratory therapy program at La Cité have been dealt another blow after the college suspended their instructors.

The four suspensions without pay were confirmed in a Nov. 24 letter to the instructors, obtained by CBC. The union representing faculty at the college also confirmed the suspensions.

When the province-wide strike ended, La Cité told its instructors they would still need to certify students despite the gap in class time.

However some teachers felt it was irresponsible to award a full licence to students who had taken a condensed program, and refused the college's order.

"It's a question of professional ethics," said Vicky Panteleakos, one of the instructors who was suspended. 

Respiratory therapists help people suffering from pulmonary issues, including procedures during trauma care, anesthesia and life support.

La Cité has brought in substitutes to take over the classes of four respiratory therapy instructors who were suspended. (Laurie Trudel/Radio-Canada)

'I don't feel valued'

Meanwhile, substitutes have now been pulled in to teach the classes. The college is informing respiratory therapy students on a day-to-day basis about whether their classes will proceed.

Second-year student Camille Dutremble said she's considering dropping out. 

"I don't feel like I'm going to learn all the things I need to succeed in my work," she said. "I don't feel valued."

She said she doesn't blame the substitutes, but she doesn't feel like she's getting the same quality of education she'd be getting from the instructors who were suspended.

"We're already demotivated, we're already stressed," she said.

Instructor Vicky Panteleakos said she doesn't think it's responsible to certify respiratory therapy students who have taken a condensed course. (Laurie Trudel/CBC)

Panteleakos agreed that it's not fair to anyone involved.

"They haven't been briefed on where we're at, they don't have our notes."

She added the focus should be on the students, not the disagreement. 

"We wanted to give them the best chance at succeeding."

With files from Laurie Trudel

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