NSCAD keeps fight for funding going

NSCAD students are staying in class because of a new faculty-admin agreement, but continued funding decreases mean they’re staying on the streets, too.

NSCAD second-year Zach Atwell finally got answers last Friday when faculty and administration reached an agreement, avoiding a strike. (Photo: Bryn Karcha)

There’ll be painting and photography, but no picketing.
NSCAD University faculty did not strike on Friday, as planned, and classes will continue as usual this week.
Faculty is set to sign a newly-minted agreement with the university’s administration.
The faculty union reached a tentative three-year agreement with the school late on Thursday night. University spokeswoman Marilyn Smulders says the union will meet this week to set a date for its members to vote on that agreement.
Faculty had previously been set to strike on Thursday at noon, and then again on Friday, after negotiations reopened on Wednesday.
“The expectation was that we would be here this afternoon on a picket line,” said Robert Bean, a media arts teacher, on Thursday.
NSCAD’s photography department, where Robert Bean works, will keep its faculty working this semester, but, like the rest of the cool, faces ongoing funding cuts. (Photo: Bryn Karcha)

On the third of the total four days of conciliation, students received multiple emails from the university and its students’ union about the ongoing talks. One student says those emails were confusing.
“Be nice if they could make a decision,” said Zach Atwell, a second year photography and design student, on Thursday. “It’d be nice to get a straight answer, but that might not happen.”
For fourth year printmaking student Josie Gunther, the prospects of a strike were daunting. Gunther said she could not work on her projects from home; she requires the use of NSCAD’s presses and looms to make prints and textiles.
“I don’t want to cross the picket line, so I won’t have access to what I need,” she said on Thursday.

“I guess I’m kind of ashamed [of] administration.”

– Josie Gunther, fourth-year NSCAD student

The ongoing negotiations had been wearing on students, as well as on faculty, said Gabrielle Beauchemin, the vice president academic of SUNSCAD.
“The students are exhausted with this constant threat of a strike.”
But five days after the agreement was reached, students are back in action. They marched on Tuesday at noon from the university’s Granville campus to the legislature on Hollis Street. Their intent was to raise awareness about the lack of funding the province provides to the indebted fine arts university.
In particular, the students wanted a response to the Manifesto for a Vibrant, Strong, and Independent NSCAD they submitted on Feb. 6 to MLA Leonard Preyra. The province has yet to respond.
The King’s Students’ Union pledged their support to SUNSCAD and the manifesto last month, via a motion passed in council.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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