An open letter to FES Dean by Master’s students 1

March 7, 2018

Dear Dean de Costa,

As students of the Faculty of Environmental Studies, we are writing to ask that the Faculty suspend classes for the duration of the CUPE 3903 strike, in following with other academic departments across the University.

We do not consider non-action in this situation to be a neutral stance but rather a decision in alignment with the York University administration. By allowing classes to continue, students feel pressured by the administration and their professors to cross the picket line, whether physically or electronically. The decision by FES to continue with classes despite the strike undermines the authority of CUPE 3903.

Our faculty has been the most affected by the 800 graduate student jobs that were cut over the past two years. Hundreds of us who are graduate students in FES have lost the opportunity to gain crucial work experience as graduate or research assistants, as well as the health insurance and benefits that allow students to continue their studies. Many of us will now graduate without any academic work experience. This strike is going forward in part to demand that the University return these jobs. As students who should be members of CUPE 3903 currently or in future years, we see our solidarity as a critical part of this strike.

The Department of Equity Studies has stated that they “cannot in good faith provide education which is inconsistent and lacking in integrity, where some students are being taught, albeit without the kind of curriculum and pedagogy they were promised, while others are being deprived outright because of the conviction of their conscience.”

The Department of Sociology and the Graduate Programme in Sociology has said that the strike will “put students in a difficult situation, creating uncertainty for many [and] that by suspending classes, we can create clarity for students in our department.”

The School of Social Work has said that the “inconsistencies about which courses will continue leads to confusion and unfairness to students.”

The Department of Politics has argued that, “the suspension of all classes for the duration of the strike will minimise the chances of dangerous incidents on the picket lines, which have occurred in previous strikes.”

All of these departments also agree that TAs and CUPE instructors are integral to our programs and without their contribution, the integrity of our courses cannot be maintained.

We ask that the faculty align itself with its mandate and act as a faculty that is “dedicated to inspiring active-learners and engaged citizens… that respects and values insight, creativity, justice, and diversity and that works to promote significant social and environmental change toward the creation of a more equitable and sustainable world.” We ask that the faculty immediately suspend all classes for the duration of the strike for the safety and integrity of our students.

Sincerely,

FES Students

Kristina Hedlund, MES
Jessica Buckley, BES
Zoë Dodd, MES
Cal Caesar, MES
Robert Wiseman, MES
Grant Calder, MES
Jenna Davidson, MES
Kayla Ginter, MES
Amarita Singh, MES
Loren March, MES
Monica De Vera, MES
Jassi Ranauta, MES
Thomas Lewallen, MES
Jerrica Gilbert, MES
Enrique Moran, MES
Aida Mas, MES
Omar Elsharkawy, MES
Tim Martin, MES
Alex Gatien, MES
Shelby Kennedy, MES
Rabia Ahmed, MES
Hillary Ashley, MES
Cindy Pham, MES
Melina Damian MES
Sarah Jackson MES
Kusha Dadui, MES
Tai Vo, MES
Alicia Campney, JD/MES
Michelle Chin-Dawe, MES
Maureen Owino, MES
Melissa Sobers, MES

Open Letter to Colleagues from the Faculty of Education 1

March 7, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to express our concern with our Faculty’s handling of the recent strike and to offer what we wish to be constructive recommendations for moving forward. Faculties of Education have long histories and ties to Teacher Federation labour struggles to ensure the place and protection of teachers in the profession, and children and families in the communities they serve. Indeed, the OCT recognizes this professional history in their quick suspension of the practicum block during the period of the strike.

Rather than acknowledge this history and commitment to the profession, the first response of the administration of the Faculty of Education was to send a deeply problematic form for instructors to outline their reasons for possibly suspending their courses. According to the University Faculty Senate, Professors have the professional right and responsibility to determine if the academic integrity of their course is compromised by the strike.

We feel our Faculty’s collective first responses should be to reach out to students and our school and community partners, suspend all courses and to send a note to our students informing them of our academic and professional responsibility to do so. So many of our courses rely on the support of Graduate Assistants, Seconded and Contracted faculty with strong ties to Unions. Moreover, our graduate program is made up of students who support our Pre-Service and BA (Educational Studies) programs. It is critical that the Faculty of Education of all faculties, show measured support of and pedagogical responsibility for our graduate and undergraduate students.  Above all, collegial principles of education require professors in times of social and political turmoil to take a stand for their students and colleagues.

This is not the first time we have been called upon to respond to a strike and, yet, each time it seems more difficult for us as a faculty, (especially because of the unfortunate cancellation of faculty council meeting this month) to engage critical issues of academic integrity and faculty governance. We call for constructive, principled discussion of collegial process in the spirit of collegiality, as well as mutual respect and understanding for our students and each other during and after the strike.

Sincerely,

Steve Alsop (Professor)
Ixchel Bennett (Seconded Faculty)
Khaled Barkaoui (Associate Professor)
Warren Crichlow (Associate Professor)
Roopa Desai Trilokekar (Associate Professor)
Mario Di Paolantonio (Associate Professor)
Don Dippo (University Professor)
Jen Jenson (Professor)
Isabel Killoran (Associate Professor)
Didi Khayatt, (Professor)
Joy Mannette (Associate Professor)
Aparna Mishra Tarc (Associate Professor)
Naomi Norquay (Associate Professor)
Gillian Parekh (Assistant Professor)
Tina Rapke (Assistant Professor)
Theresa Shanahan (Associate Professor)
Vidya Shah (Seconded Faculty)
Nastassia Subban (Seconded Faculty)
Kurt Thumlert (Assistant Professor)

 

 

E-mail to students from Glendon POLS Chair 1

March 5, 2018

Tous les cours en POLS suspendus / all courses in POLS suspended

Chers étudiants en POLS / Dear POLS students,

Le département POLS a décidé que tous les cours en POLS seront suspendus pendant la grève: la clarté apportée par la suspension de toutes les classes pendant la durée de la grève garantit l’intégrité académique et favorise la sécurité des étudiants et la santé mentale des étudiants et des professeurs / The POLS department has decided that all courses in POLS will be suspended for the duration of the strike: the clarity provided by suspending all classes for the duration of the strike safeguards academic integrity and promotes student safety and student and faculty mental health.

Glendon Faculty Council passed two motions (disponibles en anglais seulement pour le moment):

For reasons set out in the rationale below, it is the opinion of Council that classes should not be held in the event of a CUPE 3903 strike.

Rationale: Holding classes during a strike will compromise the academic integrity of our programmes. Safety and security of our students is a paramount concern. Uncertainty generates student and faculty anxiety and negatively impacts mental health. Therefore, the clarity provided by suspending all classes for the duration of the strike safeguards academic integrity, and promotes student safety and student and faculty mental health.
et/and

That Senate Executive suspend all classes on the Glendon Campus in the event of and for the duration of a CUPE 3903 strike, based on the previous motion.

Il semble que l’administration n’a pas encore informé les étudiants de ces motions, mais en attendant vous avez des droits / It seems that the administration has not yet informed students of these motions, but in the meantime you have rights [Senate policy link]:

Students who do not participate in academic activities because:
a) they are unable to do so owing to a Disruption, or
b) they choose not to participate in academic activities owing to a strike or lock-out on campus
are entitled to immunity from penalty, to reasonable alternative access to materials covered in their absence, to reasonable extensions of deadlines and to such other remedy as Senate deems necessary and consistent with the principle of academic integrity.

La meilleure source d’informations sur vos cours reste vos professeurs / The best source of information about your courses remains your professors.

Si vous avez des problèmes pour obtenir l’immunité de pénalité, des prolongations raisonnables des délais, etc. svp faites le moi savoir / If you have any problems obtaining immunity from penalty, reasonable extensions of deadlines, etc, please let me know.

Willem Maas
Directeur/Chair, Glendon POLS

Two motions by the Glendon Faculty Council 1

March 2, 2018

Glendon Faculty Council motions

Motion: For reasons set out in the rationale below, it is the opinion of Council that classes should not be held in the event of a CUPE 3903 strike.

Rationale: Holding classes during a strike will compromise the academic integrity of our programmes. Safety and security of our students is a paramount concern. Uncertainty generates student and faculty anxiety and negatively impacts mental health. Therefore, the clarity provided by suspending all classes for the duration of the strike safeguards academic integrity, and promotes student safety and student and faculty mental health.

and

Motion: That Senate Executive suspend all classes on the Glendon Campus in the event of and for the duration of a CUPE 3903 strike, based on the previous motion.

York Board of Governors appears ready to appoint Rhonda Lenton as president despite overwhelming rejection from cross-campus constituencies -Statement to the York Community Reply

A successful presidential search celebrates the appointment of an individual who inspires, motivates and brings together a diverse university community. In contrast, appointing the wrong individual can elicit apathy, demoralization, entrenched divisions, greater labour strife, and ensuing reputational loss for the institution. That the Board of Governors appears to be ready to appoint a president who has been publicly rejected by wide sectors of the university constitutes an unprecedented crisis of governance at York. More…

Important links to the presidential search Reply

York University site on presidential search – Official documents and links

Urgent call for action: Say no to Rhonda Lenton as the next president of York University – 10 November 2016

Statements regarding the consideration of Provost Rhonda Lenton for President – 14 November 2016

Letter from Prof. Agnes Whitfield to the Presidential Search Committee – 14 November 2016

York profs slam presidential search in open letter – 18 November 2016, Excalibur

Follow-up letter from Prof Agnes Whitfield regarding the presidential search – 20 November 2016

YUFA poll results on presidential search – 22 November 2016. Detailed poll results are here.

York University urged to make search for new president more transparent – 22 November 2016, Globe and Mail

YUFA statement on the presidential search – 23 November 2016

YUGSA Statement on York’s Presidential Search – 23 November 2016

York Cross-Campus Alliance – Joint-statement about presidential search – 25 November 2016

York community members decry university corporatization – 26 November 2016, Excalibur

GHSA statement on presidential search – 29 November 2016

Open Statement to the York University Community on the Flawed Integrity of the Presidential Search Process – 14 December 2016

York Cross-Campus Alliance response to Board of Governors’ statement on York’s presidential search – 10 January 2017

York Board of Governors appears ready to appoint Rhonda Lenton as president despite overwhelming rejection from cross-campus constituencies -Statement to the York Community – 23 February 2017

 

Follow-up letter from Prof Agnes Whitfield regarding the presidential search Reply

The narrow corporate perspectives of the current Board of Governors, 100% dominated by big business and big finance, are precisely what have led York University to the demoralization of its full and part-time faculty, the present enrollment crisis, and general academic disarray. The present Board of Governors does not have the legitimacy to undertake, let alone control, the present Presidential Search process. More…