To Whom it May Concern,
As the University of Toronto undergraduate linguistics course union, the Society of Linguistics Undergraduate Students (SLUGS) would like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the members of CUPE 3902, in light of recent striking action.
We are deeply disappointed that the University of Toronto administration continues not only to abstain from further bargaining, but also to carry out a campaign of misdirection and misinformation in an attempt to propagate the idea that the effects of the CUPE 3902 strike are negligible. As undergraduate students, it is clear to us that this is not the case; many of the courses offered by the Linguistics department are taught by our talented Masters and PhD students. At present, these classes are either cancelled entirely, or otherwise profoundly impacted by the lack of tutorials. It is a shame that the administration seems to entirely undervalue the contribution of graduate students to the quality of education that has provided this university with its prestigious reputation. The long term, gatekeeping effects of underpaying graduate students ensures that academia is only available to those who can afford it. Education should be open to everyone. Scientific research should be open to everyone.
Although the SLUGS executive committee regrets the (temporary) negative effects of the strike on the undergraduate linguistics community, it is our belief that our graduate students deserve to be paid fairly for their work. Therefore, we encourage our membership to respect the CUPE 3902 picket lines by minimizing their use of university facilities, in order to send a strong message to the administration. As for our part, it is with great remorse that we have no longer been able to offer facilitated study groups (FSGs) or tutoring resources of any kind: these services were never meant to replace the invaluable assistance of the graduate student teachers, and to continue to offer them now would constitute strike breaking. That being said, we remain committed to providing our membership with up-to-date information on the strike, and we encourage the use of SLUGS-run social media for the purpose of facilitating discussion around these issues. As always, we are accessible by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/6016112602/) and through our website (http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~slugs/).
Society of Linguistic Undergraduate Students,