York students back in class - Metro US

York students back in class

How do you welcome back students after a bitter three-month strike?

If you’re York University Prof. Dennis Raphael, you let your third-year class vote on a new marking scheme for the rest of its shorter semester.

In one of the dozens of York lecture halls yesterday that erupted with learning for the first time in 12 weeks, Raphael decided to give students a small say in an academic year for which many felt they had lost control.

“I did it to help smooth the transition back to class,” said Raphael after the first lecture he has held since Nov. 6, when York’s teaching assistants, contract faculty and graduate assistants walked off the job for better benefits and job security.

All 50,000 students were back on campus yesterday after the Ontario government ordered the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3903 back to work last week and sent the dispute to an arbitrator.

Amid the crush of returning undergrads, the York Federation of Students gathered names on a petition for a 12 per cent tuition refund — the school year has been clipped by 12 per cent — and slammed York president Mamdouh Shoukri for continuing to draw his six-figure salary while students went without their education.

But some just wanted everyone to get along. Kinesiology student Mona Nasiri, part of a school spirit group, held up a sign offering “Free Hugs” in the main rotunda.

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