The possibility of a faculty strike at St. Francis Xavier University is raising stress levels among many students on campus.

About 50 students and 50 union members gathered outside Morrison Hall to show their support for teachers and a fair settlement.

“These are the people who are on the front line of our education here and we’re just demonstrating our support that they get a fair outcome of these negotiations,” says rally organizer Rachel Garbary.

Contract talks between the administration and members of the Association of University Teachers broke down a week ago. A conciliator report has been filed and the union could walk off the job as early as Jan. 28.

More than 500 students have signed a petition calling for a quick and fair resolution but the threat of a possible faculty strike has raised levels of stress and concern.

“Don’t really want the strike to go, I want to get the education,” says student Michele Curley. “It’s a lot easier to learn if you have a teacher in front of you.”

“The meal hall will be closed and stuff and I’m in a financial state where it wouldn’t be applicable to go and buy a lot of food and be on strike for months, or even weeks,” says student Joshua Parsons.

Union leaders say a strike is the last thing they want to see too.

“If we can get a deal, the sooner the better and it’s better for all of the campus community,” says Peter McInnis, spokesman for the Association of University Teachers. “But here we are, practically into February and it shouldn’t be happening, but I don’t think we really have any choice.”

Ramsay Duff, the vice-president of finance and operations, was not available for comment today.

In an earlier statement, Duff said the university is committed to reaching an agreement. He also said the university will not lock out union members, which means the only way a disruption can occur is if the union decides to go on strike.

The two sides are scheduled to go back to the bargaining table on Wednesday.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh