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Selkirk College faculty has concerns but no strike looms

With Vancouver Island University faculty on strike and other post-secondary institutions set to strike at any time as well, the Selkirk College Faculty Association provided a bargaining update to the public last week.

Doug Henderson, president of the association and a math professor at Selkirk College, said 10,000 educators in B.C. have been bargaining for almost a year.

“One of the problems that we find in the system is years of chronic underfunding,” he said.

According to Henderson, $200 million needs to go into the system today to get the funding to where it needs to be due to higher student numbers and inflation (compared to 10 years ago.)

“If they were to return the funding levels it would not just be to give the instructors an easier time,” he said, adding the funding would ultimately help the students.

“We’ve been forced to do more with less for a decade,” he said.

Selkirk College has some of the oldest buildings and lab equipment in the province, Henderson said.

He’s hoping Premier Christy Clark will use some of her $600-million slush fund for education.

Bev Onischak, secretary of the faculty association, said while there are problems facing post-secondary faculties all over the province, locally, educators at Selkirk College have some changes they’d like to see made as well, such as including part-time faculty in the health and benefits program.

She said the college faculty isn’t ready to strike yet. The faculty would first have to take a vote to decide whether or not there would be a strike vote, which would take over a month alone.

“Right now we’re just testing the waters to see what our members want to do,” she said.

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