Monday, February 11, 2013

sol! sol! sol! solidarity!*

This post is dedicated to the awesome members of Unit II of the Faculty Union of NSCAD.


This week has been insanely exciting and stressful. Words cannot fully describe what I've experienced and felt, but I'll do my best.

Monday: I applied to graduate! Class of '13, here I come!

We spent much of Reconfigured Image dissecting a reading that Bob had given us on Thursday.

Tuesday: I spent most of the day doing homework and then in the evening went to NSCAD and helped make signs for Wednesday's march to Province House.

Wednesday: Manifesto Delivery Day. By the time I got to NSCAD, I was beyond ready to march. I chose a sign, waited for a bit, and then the Canadian Federation of Students' Maritimes Organizer, Rebecca Rose, led us in our first chant in the student lounge ("we're fired up, can't take it no more"). After that, we headed out and over to Province House, chanting the whole time. I'd brought my point 'n' shoot and I took a few photos. As I chanted, I wondered if I was going to go hoarse from it all.

The first few protesters had some issues getting into the Province House parking lot, but the rest of us were okay (the authorities had figured out what was going on by that point). We presented the manifesto not to Premier Derrel Dexter, but to Leonard Preyra, the MLA who represents Halifax Citadel-Sable Island, which is the riding that NSCAD's in. He made a small speech, but while it sounded okay, it was basically lip service. As we chanted, "Derrel Dexter shame on you! Shame on you for turning blue!" (Blue is the colour of the Conservative Party, and the NS NDP is more Conservative than it is NDP.) And yes, we booed and jeered at a couple of his statements. We then headed back to NSCAD, chanting the whole way. And who was watching us from an upper window but Premier Dexter... We finished in the Granville Campus courtyard and chanted "we support you Unit II!" You can see photos from the march here and here. I found out later that there'd been about two hundred people at the protest. In addition to NSCADians, some folks from King's and Dalhousie universities showed up in solidarity. Although it was a cold day, I didn't feel cold and I ended up not putting on my gloves. I think it was because a. we were in a fairly sheltered area the whole time, and b. I was so focused on the march that I completely forgot about the subzero temperature.

After all that, I spent the afternoon getting work done--and basking in the high that the protest had induced.

In the evening, we had yet another GA--but I had to leave before it had really started because I had Graphics in the Port Campus (apparently the Port computer lab was the only one available).

Class was spent working out the kinks in our projects.

I was so nervous about FUNSCAD II, whether they'd end up with a good deal and whether there'd be a strike that I barely slept that night.

Thursday: As soon as I got up, I checked my school email. SUNSCAD had sent out the minutes from the GA, so I read them--and then I kept refreshing the inbox, hoping for news about FUNSCAD II's strike situation. Nothing. Check again two minutes later: still nothing.

When I got to school, I immediately headed to the Photo Dept.'s computer lab because I wanted to print one of my photos from the march and give it to the Photo studio techs because they're awesome. I was in a major rush because the strike would be legal as of 12:42 PM/11:42 AM EST. When I gave it to Chris (one of the four techs) after trimming it, he said that the union and administration had reached a tentative agreement--and that there wouldn't be a strike. I was so relieved and happy that I could barely speak for a few seconds. I then grabbed lunch and went to class, brimming with excitement. I found out later that the deal had been struck at four in the morning. All but one of the Photo techs went home to get some much-needed and -deserved sleep. Alex was the one left in charge, so he was a bit hard to track down sometimes because he was doing the work of four techs. Go Alex! Click here to see FUNSCAD's update/thank-you note that they posted on Facebook. The last paragraph: "Finally, a huge thank you to SUNSCAD and our incredible and active NSCAD students! You came out in impressive numbers to express your support for Unit II, and we couldn't do this without you. Your letters to the NSCAD President and Administration makes clear the importance of Unit II staff, and the indispensable role that Unit II fulfills at this school. We extend our sincere gratitude to each individual student who supported FUNSCAD with their words of encouragement and expressions of solidarity." Aww... You're welcome!

One of the students hadn't presented her last project, so she presented it. We also discussed our current projects and watched a movie that was made completely out of still images.

Several times throughout the day, I wanted to cry. When I got home, I couldn't hold it in anymore and I let loose and sobbed out of overwhelming joy and relief.

Just so you know, the battle isn't over yet: FUNSCAD I (the teachers' union) is currently in conciliation, and the earliest that they could strike is just when the students are coming back after the break.

Friday: Back to earth with a bump. I'd regained some of the sleep that I missed on Wednesday night, but I wasn't back up to 100% yet.

Obsolescence was pretty much the same as usual, though we got to watch a movie, and Bob handed back our first essays (I didn't do too badly). We have to write another one this week as well as a brief proposal for the final essay.

Writing ended up being almost completely devoted to this week's presentation, which was a long (but fascinating) one.

Saturday: NSCAD, like all the other post-secondary schools in Halifax, closed due to winter storm Nemo. I spent the day trying to get myself to tackle that mountain of homework (I managed to get a little of it done) and celebrating FUNSCAD II. Mom called early that afternoon, which was the first time that I'd heard her voice since Christmas Break.

Sunday: Yesterday's celebration was fun and all, but I really needed to get back to work today. And I did: that mountain of homework is looking a little less like Everest and a little more like Katahdin at this point.

Next week I'll be home for the break. I admit that it snuck up on me, probably because I'm so used to NB's first-week-in-March break. This week's non-homework priority: buying my bus ticket.

Here are videos of the protest:

The last video was at the Granville Campus.

The Ode to Joy from Beethoven's ninth pretty much sums up what I felt that day:

*Another of our chants.

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