I have tried to stay out of the pending "strike issue" at Kenai Peninsula College as long as I could in the hopes that both sides could come to an agreement. However, that seems to no longer be possible, and with each passing day the impasses to seeing this settled without a disruption to the educational process seems less and less likely. In the end, it will be the students who wind up bearing the brunt of this impasse.
Let me explain. I entered into an agreement and even signed a contract with the college that stated I would pay them for the privilege of attending their institution. Part of that agreement
was that I would attend classes and turn in all assigned work. In exchange, I would then be graded on my performance and would receive an appropriate grade for the work turned in.
Now however, I am being told that at best, I may have a substitute instructor or classes may be canceled, but that I am still responsible for knowing the material in order to pass the classes that I have signed up for. These were not the terms of the agreement that I signed!
What complicates the matter even further is the fact of the timeline. I, like many of my fellow classmates, are enrolled in pre-requisite classes. What that means is that we must successfully complete these required courses to even be considered for enrollment in the degree-seeking programs of our choosing. In the event that we are unable to fulfill these requirements this year, it means that we will not be eligible for the degree-seeking program next fall, and potentially we stand to lose an entire year in the pursuit of our college education.
In the event that substitute instructors are arranged and classes continue during an imposed strike, I will be faced with the dilemma of either walking past a picket line of instructors who have been more than gracious in helping me in my efforts to continue my education in order to fulfill the requirements for admission or honoring their position and possibly forfeiting any chance of being able to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage next fall.
Then, in the event, that things are settled, and the instructors come back, who's class material am I to use for my next exams and how is that going to affect my overall performance?
In the end, it is the student who is the big loser, and I for one am seriously considering whether I can support an institution that has not acted in the best interest of the student body in this matter.
If education is the goal, then educate us. If control is the issue, keep it out of the classroom and let those who want to teach, teach and those who want to learn, learn.
Tiarnan Coval, KPC student
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