Department of Film statement on remediation Reply

Department of Film

School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design

Principles for Remediation

The Department of Film asserts that, after four days of remediation, the
academic integrity of our courses has been deeply undermined by the
Institutional Remediation Guidelines from Senate Executive and the AMPD
Remediation Framework. As such, the Department recommends cancelling all
undergraduate and graduate classes and undertaking remediation only when
the strike is resolved. In coming to this decision, the teaching faculty
rigourously assessed each course, mindful of maintaining the balance
between academic integrity and fairness to students.

Since the announcement from the Senate Executive regarding the resumption of programs in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design beginning March 17, we have collectively witnessed and discussed the following substantial challenges to maintaining academic integrity
balanced with fairness to students:

1) First, second and third year required courses for the BFA and BA
majors (Film 1001, 1020, 1120, 1400, 2010, 2230, 3230) rely on CUPE1
teaching and grading. While the strike is on, there will be no grading,
critiques or tutorials; it’s agreed that no other members will do CUPE
work. This is a fundamental rupture in our curriculum and renders the
re-starts academically unsound. Similarly, the large enrollment courses
(Film 1401, 1701, and 2401) rely on CUPE1 labour for tutorials and
grading and, in their absence, academic standards are compromised.
Moreover, given that the majority of the students in the large classes
are from units other than Film, often in faculties or schools that have
had a different re-start date, there is widespread confusion amongst
students about attendance and we have seen examples of courses with 200
and 300 enrolled, with less than 20 in attendance this past week. In
studio courses, low attendance undermines the value of peer critiques,
an essential pedagogical component of our curriculum, which allows
students to learn not only from their own creative work but also from
the creative work of others. Any alternative approach would absolutely
encroach upon the academic integrity of the course. Low attendance
characterized all upper-level production, screenwriting and studies
courses this past week, including 4000-level courses in Screenwriting
that are integrated with graduate courses. The absence of the graduate
students in these intimate seminars, particularly at a time in the term
when critiques are scheduled, has the consequence of devaluing that
process and excluding from it, those who choose not to attend the course
while the strike is on.

2) The Senate policy that protects students from penalty for not
crossing picket lines and for not doing academic work during the
disruption has impacted attendance in our courses. Also, even when given
the option of an alternate learning context, many students have chosen
to not participate in the resumption of classes. In many cases, students
have written passionately and incisively in solidarity with CUPE and
will not cross picket lines or do schoolwork while the strike is on.
This clearly creates difficulties for instructors attempting to create
fair learning environments that also maintain the initial goals of the
course. In all cases, instructors have reported their dissatisfaction
with the teaching and learning context that currently exists. It is
preferred to do remediation once the strike is over, as that allows for
a clear assessment of what has been missed and what needs to be completed.

3) Instructors directed back to class this past week expressed their
regret that they were now forced to address the myriad of details
required to develop a fair teaching plan; cross picket lines (for many
of them a moral outrage, especially intense for those in CUPE); teach to
empty classrooms; as well as respond to the confusion and frustration of
students, even while information changed hourly. In all cases,
instructors expressed concern about the level of duress they were
working under.

4) The intensifying stress that students, staff, teachers and
administrators are experiencing during the strike strains the
relationships between everyone in the York community and it threatens
collegiality in our unit and the school. Eventually the strike will end,
and we will have to work together again. We feel that it is important to
retain a good working relationship between all parties in preparation
for resumption of normal activity.

As a consequence of these observations about the re-start in our unit,
the Department of Film affirms the right of the instructor to determine
if returning to the classroom is consistent with academic integrity,
without having to receive approval from the chair or school
administration. We assert the right to protection from repercussions
that are a consequence of our choices about re-starting classes.

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