Lawsuit seeks compensation for York U students
Published Monday, January 26, 2009 2:39PM EST
A Toronto law firm has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf of York University students who say they are entitled to have their tuition reimbursed after a strike forced them out of school for nearly three months.
The law offices of Juroviesky and Ricci LLP filed the suit Sunday after the government failed to come to a unanimous consent over back-to-work legislation
The suit is asking York to reimburse students their tuition and other fees paid to the university as well as damages for the losses students have endured.
Henry Juroviesky, a partner at the firm, said students have been left with little choice.
"It's unfortunate that this matter has evolved into a stalemate labor negotiation between York University and the Union, and has lost its primary focal point, namely the welfare of the York University students," he said in a news release. "As such the only practical option the students have for immediate relief and the possibility to salvage their academic track is via the court system through this class action."
Some York students said they were pleased someone is defending their rights.
"They're not getting the same education they expected to be getting when they signed up for the courses," one man told CTV Toronto on Monday.
Another said students have a right to be compensated if their school year has been jeopardized, especially when they couldn't even look for a job to help pay for tuition.
"It's pretty hard when you don't know how it's going to end," he said. "It's hard to plan anything."
One professor told CTV Toronto how the strike is not only affecting current students but future potential students as well. He said the university tries its best to attract the best and the brightest but that the strike has dragged the school's name through the mud.
The most recent enrolment figures show that York had about 25 per cent fewer applicants this year than last year.
This latest strike, which began Nov. 6., is the longest in the school's history. However, it is the third strike at the school since 1997.
The strike started when 3,300 contract staff, teaching and graduate assistants walked off the job after failing to come to an agreement with the administration over job security.
About 5,000 students were allowed back to class today after a special deal was reached with the university but 45,000 students are still out in the cold.
The government is expected to pass back-to-work legislation by the end of the week which could put all students back in class by Feb. 2.
With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman