Principles for Remediation in Department of Political Science Reply

Faculty of the Department of Political Science (LA&PS)

Principles for Remediation [1]

Adopted by faculty members in the Department of Political Science by a vote of 28-1

The Department of Political Science reaffirms the position it took prior to the 16 March 2015 announcement by the Senate Executive of the resumption of classes, that remediation for courses disrupted by the labour-management dispute should not begin until the end of the legal strike. Should classes be resumed on 23 March 2015 in the absence of a settlement to the strike, the Department of Political Science is very concerned about its effect on the academic integrity of both individual courses and of our programmes:

• All of our first and second year courses, and a number of our third year offering rely on CUPE 1 Teaching Assistants, whose contributions to those courses in most if not all cases is integral to the pedagogy of the course. The first principle of the Faculty’s remediation framework is that no member of another bargaining unit will do the work of a striking CUPE Unit 1 member. These two facts mean that any resumption of these courses risks a severe compromise of their integrity.

• Students are entitled, under Senate Policy 008, to choose not to cross either physically or virtually, a picket line to attend classes. This means that those course which, in whole or in part, rely on classroom discussion for their pedagogy will similarly be severely compromised should any significant portion of the students choose to exercise that right. Virtually all the courses in our programmes which are not supported by Unit 1 TAs rely for their pedagogy on classroom discussion with and among students.

• The full scope of remediation for any courses that do resume before the end of the strike cannot be known until a settlement is reached and the final remediation plan is adopted by Senate and the Faculty. Such a situation undermines the integrity of the resumed course, threatens the fair and equitable treatment of students to which we are professionally committed, and stands to impose a significant additional workload on members of the Department.

• Beyond the concerns with individual courses and programmes, the resumption of classes threatens the collegiality on which the Department, and the wider University, depends. Unit 1 members are not only our teaching colleagues, but our PhD students, and Unit 3 members are our MA students. Graduate education relies on a close working relationship between student and committee, a relationship that may be fundamentally fractured by the resumption of classes while those students continue to strike.

In light of these concerns, the Department of Political Science, echoing the report of the Senate Executive, affirms the right of individual members of faculty, tenure stream, contractual, and sessional members, to determine whether returning to the classroom is consistent with the academic integrity of their course(s), without having to receive approval from the Chair or Faculty Administration. We assert the right to full protection from repercussions for faculty members who decide not to come back to the classroom if they determine, in their best judgment, that they cannot ensure the academic integrity of their course(s), as well as to those who decide that they will return to teach. Finally, we reaffirm the protections afforded to students under Senate Policy 008, and commit to the full and vigorous defence of those protections should it be necessary.

[1] These principles were discussed at a special meeting of the Department of Political Science on 16 March 2015, 1 and then discussed and approved by electronic means. The text is derived from the statement issued by the Department of Social Science (LA&PS) on 13 March 2015. We wish to thank our colleagues in Social Science for their permission to make liberal use of their text.

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