Here we reprint an open letter to Ontario student unions from the Ryerson Student Strike Committee.
October 7, 2019
Ryerson University students have just made history.
On Sept. 25, Ryerson students voted overwhelmingly for a one-day strike on November 6 in opposition to Doug Ford’s cuts to OSAP, cuts to university funding, and attacks on student organizing.
The strike vote, during which only one person voted against, was attended by some 200 Ryerson students, making it one of the largest democratic meetings in Ryerson’s history. As far as we know, this was the first strike vote of Ontario university students in a generation.
Decades of lobbying by our student union leaders have failed to stop attacks on education. The March 2019 walkout, while a step forward, was also not enough to convince Ford. For this reason, Ryerson students have decided to up the ante. We firmly believe a strike is our only hope to save students from poverty, defend campus jobs, and guarantee our rights are upheld for generations to come.
However, we cannot do it alone.
In order to stop Ford’s cuts, we need as many campuses joining us on strike as possible. The larger a strike is, the higher the chance of victory. A strike at Ryerson may be powerful, but it is nothing compared to a strike of all universities and colleges in Ontario.
The Ford government is incredibly unpopular and, due to pressure from below, has already been forced to roll back a number of his most dastardly cuts. If there were ever time for an Ontario-wide student strike, it would be now.
Already, the OCAD Student Union has announced their own general assembly, with a proposal to join us on strike Nov. 6. Now other campuses must follow!
Given that, we call on all student unions in Ontario to immediately organize strike votes on their respective campuses, and to join us on the picket line Nov. 6.
Furthermore, we call on the Canadian Federation of Students to help facilitate the strike movement and help spread it to every corner of Ontario. The old myth that Ontario students are “not ready” for strike action is quickly being debunked, one campus at a time. Given the severity of Ford’s cuts, we are left with no other option.
Now is not the time to go into reverse, but to advance. Thousands of students have already expressed their desire to do exactly that. It is now up to our student union leaders to point the way forward.
For an Ontario-wide student strike Nov. 6!
Ryerson Strike Committee