Political Science Course Picketed in Enforcement of Strike Mandate

A class of around 50 political science students was noisily disrupted in the MB building earlier today in enforcement of the Political Science Student Association’s mandate to strike April 1 and 2.

Video by Alex Bailey

A procession of roughly twenty students enforcing the strike mandate banged pots, blew whistles and shouted chants in condemnation of the Liberal government’s budget cuts. Students angered by the disruption of their class held up their phones to capture the unrest, with some posting on social media and alerting the attention of local news organizations.

“Austerity affects the quality of our education,” Aloyse Muller, an Arts and Science councillor and Political Science student picketing the class, told The Link. “It affects not only students but teachers … and then of course it affects healthcare. Everyone is affected by austerity measures.”

Prior to the disruption, Professor Graham Dodds stated he would conduct the course as he would any day, as he distributed a short quiz as picketers organized outside the classroom door.

Following the striker’s entrance, Dodds told strike coordinators that he intended to record the names of every picketer and asked if they would “pose for photos.” Picket coordinator Katie Nelson declined, responding by saying, “That’s kinda weird.”

Some students denounced the picketers, and many of the flyers they handed out outlining the PSSA strike mandate, were ripped up or discarded.

The visibly frustrated professor paced along the row of picketers with a small notebook, recording the names of each striker. Afterwards, Dodds held a vote among the class by show of hands to either immediately cancel the class, wait another five to ten minutes or to remain for the remainder of class time.

The class voted to stay put. Adara Borys later cited her vote to hold out was done to “make their hands hurt and voices die out. That’s the only reason I stayed as long as I did,” she said.

A little over an hour after the picketing began, students had begun walking out, and the picketers ceased their efforts to disrupt the class. The atmosphere returned to calm, as the professor remained behind his desk, refusing to cancel the course, but unable to teach the class.

The class concluded at its scheduled time, with fewer than a dozen students remaining.

“I’m sympathetic to people who feel that their educational quality is being eroded” Dodds told The Link after the class.

“[However] when people protest the erosion of their educational quality by further eroding their own educational quality voluntarily, that’s at best ironic and at worst misguided.”

The authors of this article are both enrolled in the Political Science course disrupted.