Photo courtesy of Toronto Labour. CUPE strike continues at York University.

Ryerson students in a joint graduate program with York University are being affected by its current strike, but Ryerson said some professors and instructors are willing to offer accommodations.

Students in the joint communication and culture graduate program, ComCult, had their classes at York suspended mid-week. Now, classes for the program are continuing as scheduled at Ryerson.

“I can’t force a [professor] to take a piece of work he doesn’t want to take or change a deadline,” said Jeremy Shtern, the program’s director at Ryerson. “But we’re talking about and working with students and instructors to discuss and support any accommodation requests related to the strike that come from any of the ComCult students.”

Masters and PhD students can choose either Ryerson or York as their home school for the program, but can take classes at both universities. Approximately half of the courses in the program are taught at York while the other half are taught at Ryerson. Barring a strike, students are expected to take courses at both schools simultaneously.

Shtern said that Ryerson is doing “everything they can” to minimize any disruptions caused by the strike.

“We have experience of dealing with this as a joint partnership, it’s not the first strike,” he said.

The communication and culture program is the only joint graduate program that Ryerson has with York.

Arjun Dhanjal, a student in the program, who enrolled with York University as his home school, wrote in an e-mail that he is taking classes at both Ryerson and York, and that all of his York classes have officially been suspended.

“As for me personally: I am indeed taking a class at each campus, and so my York class is officially suspended. Since Ryerson is not experiencing a labour disruption, [Communication and Culture’s] Ryerson-housed classes are continuing as scheduled,” wrote Dhanjal.

According to Shtern, the decision to suspend all classes at York was made by the program’s executive committee following the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) strike at York. The strike began last Monday after CUPE voted to reject York’s final settlement offer for increased job security. This is the second CUPE strike at York within the last three years. The last one happened in 2015.

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