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Strike anniversary a painful reminder of turbulent times

It’s almost been a year since college students all over Ontario were hearing news of a potential strike on the horizon. For many, It was almost like another summer vacation but for others it was a life-altering situation.

The 36-day strike was the longest in the college’s history and without a doubt left a mark on both students and teachers. Students were given the chance to receive a full tuition refund if they chose to drop out.

“Largely we’ve turned the page on the strike certainly the classes are back to normal, we don’t have any compressed semesters this year, we’ve got the excitement of our new Dare District opening so I think that’s an exciting thing for everybody,” said college president Cheryl Jensen.

President Jensen likes to maintain a strong relationship with both the students and the Students Association.

“To me, the students are very eager to get on with their studies and our administration is working really hard to make things good for the students.”

Alyssa Atkinson was a first-year journalism student at Algonquin who was one of many who decided to leave because of the strike.

“During the strike I really lost my motivation to continue with school,” Atkinson said. “My job didn’t have enough hours available to pick up shifts and the uncertainty about when the strike would end, prevented me for any other way to generate income.”

Like Atkinson, many students found themselves in a bind when it came to planning ahead. At the time, it seemed as if the strike could go on forever and it left students feeling lost and unsure of their futures.

Atkinson later explained that maybe in some way the strike was a blessing in disguise because it was the reason she landed a well-paying job at a Canadian e-commerce company.

The backlash of the strike wasn’t easy to miss class attendance shrunk after the five week hiatus and although the students were mostly happy to be back, questions about reduced course loads filled the room.

Second-year public relations student, Diana Christensen, is yet another student affected by the strike. When asked if she considered dropping out she immediately replied with a firm yes.

“It was very unfair because the school didn’t communicate how serious it was,” she said.

According to The Ottawa Citizen, Algonquin saved about $8.2 million in unpaid salaries during the strike.

Students crowd the halls of Algonquin as we welcome another school year.

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