We, the undersigned senators, address in this communication our assessment of the proposed York University Statement of Policy on Free Speech submitted to Senate Executive by the York Working Group on Free Speech Policies. More…
May, 10, 2018
The Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies overwhelmingly passed a motion of non-confidence with the following language:
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University, defined as the President, the Vice-President Academic & Provost, and other Vice-Presidents, and in the Board of Governors.
The following motion was passed on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Development Studies Graduate Student Association expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.
With the strike now in its tenth week, York’s administration continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE Local 3903 to resolve outstanding issues in a timely fashion. The approach of the Senate Executive Committee to remediation while the strike is ongoing has created confusion and chaos within York’s community, intensifying the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, as well as undermining the academic integrity of courses and therefore York’s reputation. T
he York University senior administration and Board of Governors appear to be disconnected from the York University community, demonstrating their refusal to establish meaningful dialogue with all university stakeholders. York’s President and Board of Governors, with the support of Senate Executive, have deviated from a just and fair interpretation and application of The York University Act, 1965, thereby undermining collegial governance at York.
Given these considerations, the Development Studies Graduate Student Association can no longer express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.
The Development Studies Graduate Student Association calls upon other organizations, associations, councils, and bodies within the greater York University community to pass similar motions of non-confidence in the senior administration and condemn ongoing attempts to undermine collegial governance at York University.
April 30, 2018
The Department of Social Science passed the following motions at its meeting on April 30, 2018:
SOSC MOTION OF NON-CONFIDENCE
The actions of the York University Board of Governors and Senior Administration in relation to the ongoing strike are doing incalculable damage to the reputation of York University, to our ability to serve our current students and attract students, and to our financial situation. The Department of Social Science in the LA&PS Faculty therefore expresses no confidence in the senior administration led by President Rhonda Lenton and the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.
SOSC MOTION REGARDING SENATE AUTHORITY
The Department of Social Science in the Faculty of LA&PS condemns the attempts made by the York University Board of Governors and Senior Administration to weaken the autonomy and undermine the authority of Senate over academic matters, as enshrined in the York University Act.
April 30, 2018
LA&PS Faculty Council expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.
With the strike in its eight week, the Administration of York University, led by President Rhonda Lenton, continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE 3903 to resolve outstanding issues. Although it welcomed the appointment of Commissioner William Kaplan, the Administration still publicly refuses to negotiate. The positions of Administration remain deeply contradictory. On the one hand, the Administration has stated that CUPE 3903’s positions “continue to be well outside the range of anything the university can ever agree to.” On the other hand, the Administration calls for CUPE 3903 “to allow an independent third party to decide what’s fair and impose a settlement that binds both sides.” The Administration claims that the proposals are outside what they can ever agree to, but supports a process of binding arbitration that might lead to those very same outcomes. This strategy has nothing to do with negotiating a contract and everything to do with bypassing negotiations altogether.
Because of its refusal to bargain, the winter semester is in chaos. Now the Administration has announced the imminent cancellation of summer semesters. This announcement once again usurps the authority of Senate and Senate Executive to make decisions on class suspension due to a labour disruption. It demonstrates a “scorched earth” approach to contract negotiations placing the business-driven interests of the Board of Governors over the academic reputation of the institution and the education, mental health and future of our students. The Senate Executive Committee has managed remediation in full deference to this administrative approach. It has created chaos and dysfunction within York. It has intensified the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, and undermined the academic integrity of courses and York’s standing with students, families and the public.
The April 2 letter from Rick Waugh, Chair of the Board of Governors, to Lesley Beagrie, Chair of Senate, is a frontal attack on collegial governance at York. It states that “oversight and accountability for the operations of the University rest with the Board of Governors.” This misleading statement fails to acknowledge the exception clause from the York Act: “Except, as to such matters by this Act specifically assigned to the Senate” (article 10). “The Senate is responsible for the academic policy of the University” (article 12). The Board’s usurpation of Senate’s authority for academic governance during a labour disruption violates the legal framework that established York University and the Board’s fiduciary responsibility for “collegial self-governance” (York Mission Statement).
Given these considerations, LA&PS Faculty Council can no longer express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.
On Friday April 27, the Communication & Culture Graduate Student Association, made up of students, research assistants, teaching assistants and graduate assistants in the Joint Graduate Program in Communication & Culture at York University and Ryerson University, unanimously passed a motion expressing non-confidence in the senior administration at York University. This motion and rationale draw language and sentiment from the many statements of non-confidence issued by faculty, student and staff associations across York’s community.
Be it resolved that the ComCult GSA expresses non-confidence in the senior administration of York University led by President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.
With the conclusion of the eighth week of the strike, York’s administration continues to refuse to bargain with CUPE 3903. The Senate Executive Committee has failed to provide clear remediation throughout the strike leading to confusion and chaos within York’s community, intensifying the anxiety and stress of students, faculty and staff, as well as undermining the academic integrity of courses and therefore York’s reputation.
York’s President and Board of Governors, with the support of Senate Executive, have
undermined the historic interpretation and application of The York University Act, 1965, thereby undermining collegial governance at York. Given these considerations, the Communication & Culture Graduate Students’ Association cannot express confidence in the leadership of President Rhonda Lenton or Chair of the Board of Governors Rick Waugh.
This expression of non-confidence is not grounded in the disparity between the demands of the Union and the offer of the Employer – rather, this statement is based in the failure of senior administration to uphold academic integrity as well as their actions in the erosion of said integrity through their continued strategic efforts to undermine the process of collective bargaining. Beyond undermining the Union’s constitutional right to collective bargaining, the Administration’s unwavering commitment to punishing CUPE 3903 for dismissing binding arbitration has clearly demonstrated their priority to cut operating costs at any cost to their own students.
April 26, 2018
I’m Devin Clancy and in case anyone in this administration has forgotten, I am a member of this community. After being forced to picket outside for 8 weeks, in the cold, the wind, and freezing rain, you start to wonder if anyone at the top making six figures actually cares about those of us that do the work of this university. So to be clear, I am a student, teaching assistant, and CUPE 3903’s representative in the senate.
Two weeks ago on April 12 the senate passed this motion:
“Senate urges both sides in the labour disruption to immediately return to the bargaining table and take the necessary steps to settle the dispute as soon as possible”
As we all saw when entering the meeting today, CUPE 3903’s democratically elected bargaining team is sitting outside these doors as we speak, waiting for York to come to the table.
Where is Kathryn McPherson?
Where is Rob Lawson? If you know, please let our health and safety committee know, we’ve been waiting for his response to our Vari Hall inspection since December.
Where is Noura Shaw?
Where is Barry Miller?
And where is York’s union busting lawyer Simon Mortimer?
Lyndon Martin, Senator Martin, why are you not outside right now sitting at that table? Why are you not calling everyone on your team to join you?
Senator Martin, you have been directed by the most senior collegial decision making body of this university to “immediately return to the bargaining table” and “settle the dispute as soon as possible.”
What gives you the right to disregard your colleges’ direction? What gives you the right to refuse the direction of the senate? What empowers you to abdicate your responsibility to bargain?
Have you, like 800 graduate assistants, also been “liberated from work obligation” by the Board of Governors and the corrupt executive of the senate?
For two weeks now, York and CUPE have been involved in a process of mediation and inquiry. Our union’s bargaining team met with commissioner Kaplan, revised our proposals, and clearly showed a desire to negotiate a deal to end this strike.
Yet, even before the mediation period ended, York emailed the entire community to brazenly state the university would never negotiate. And it said this despite being expressly directed by the senate to do so. This is, without a doubt, a crisis of collegial governance, but it is also a crisis of the values and principles of York University.
How can anyone in this administration honestly believe that York’s actions in this strike represent a commitment to “social justice”?
What hollow notion of justice do you pretend to hold Rhonda? Is your justice always brought to us by TD bank? Does it rely on investing in arms and occupation? Does your justice depend on investing in TransCanada pipelines?
The only social justice at this university comes from students and workers on the ground who stand up against corporate interests and fight for the generations of students and workers to come.
For our local, social justice is not an exercise in branding, but a lived reality. It’s embedded in our union’s commitment to the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, to Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty, to supporting Indigenous struggles for self-determination.
And it is embedded in our union’s commitment to direct democratic representation of its members in the collective bargaining process.
Yet, in York’s submission to the Industrial Inquiry, our model of democratic organizing and open bargaining—which is an active practice of social justice—has been directly attacked. And Simon Mortimer used our members’ written academic work in order to attack it.
This is an assault on our members’ academic freedom. Our own critical analysis of York University is being used against us in a legal process to break our union.
What new era of bargaining does the Lenton regime want to normalize here? Clearly it involves as little bargaining as possible, and as much security, fake websites, and bogus PR that money can buy.
This administration does not care about students. This administration does not care about academic integrity or academic freedom. This administration does not care about its own reputation. And it certainly doesn’t care about its workers.
All this “social justice” university cares about is breaking CUPE 3903, by any means necessary. Even if that means destroying the summer semester and losing millions of dollars in the hope that next provincial government will introduce unconstitutional back-to-work legislation in June.
Rhonda Lenton, “social justice” president, are you really hoping for the next government to fulfill your wishes?
That’s a direct question, but I don’t expect a truthful answer. And I don’t think anyone does anymore. York University’s “social justice” president lacks integrity. And your sorry excuse of leadership is falling apart.
A growing list of student groups, departments, and faculties are passing motions of non-confidence in the senior administration, President Rhonda Lenton and in the Board of Governors led by Rick Waugh.
Rhonda, our own department of sociology has expressed its loss of confidence in you.
So I ask: President Lenton, will you stop destroying everything this university stands for and resign immediately?
April 25, 2018
The following Motion of non-confidence in the BOG and call for an independent, external, judicial review of the BOG conduct and interpretation of the York University Act was passed by the Faculty of Education at the Special Meeting of Faculty Council on April 25, 2018.
Votes in favour: 25
Votes abstaining: 3
Motion: The Faculty of Education rejects the BOG understanding of their responsibilities and authority to include authority to suspend classes during a disruption, and we reject their interpretation of the respective roles of Senate and the Board of Governors under the York University Act, and further the Faculty of Education rejects the BOG’s assertion that they are fulfilling their fiduciary duties, all of which was asserted in the April 2, 2018 letter from the chair of the BOG to the chair of Senate. We put forth a vote, a statement of non-confidence in the Board of Governors and a call for an independent, external judicial review of the Board’s conduct and interpretation of the York University Act.
2. Letter from Chair of BOG to Chair of Senate Executive, March 2, 2018
April 25, 2018
To: Mr. William Kaplan, Investigator, Ontario Ministry of Labour Industrial Inquiry into the CUPE 3903 Strike at York University.
We, the faculty members of the Department of Cinema and Media Arts, join our colleagues from Glendon, the Department of English and many other colleagues across the university, in expressing our outrage at York administration’s continued refusal to negotiate with CUPE 3903 in good faith. We condemn the administration’s strategy and, with our colleagues, present this vote of non-confidence in President Rhonda Lenton, her senior administrators, and the Board of Governors of York University.
Rationale: For eight weeks, the administration has played a game of hardball, insisting the two sides in the current labour dispute are too far apart to even consider negotiating. This is a misguided strategy as evidenced by the resounding 85% of the union membership of CUPE 3903 that voted ‘no’ in the forced ratification vote, April 9, 2018.
We believe collegial governance is what distinguishes universities as institutions committed to a public good. This core aspect of the university’s mission, however, has been steadily eroded over the past decades as decision making has become centralized and, in particular, Senate authority has been challenged and breached both prior to and during the current labour disruption. Spending on administrator salaries has skyrocketed. Please see Mathew Kurtz’s illuminating article in Excalibur, “The rising cost of high-income administrators at York.”
We believe that much of the erosion of collegial governance stems from a Board of Governors, chaired by Rick Waugh, that is increasingly unrepresentative, undemocratic and whose orientation is blatantly anti-union. Their vision of a corporatized university is not the vision we share. The refusal to negotiate, which we believe is informed by an explicit desire to break the union, is undermining the integrity of our academic offerings, demoralizing faculty, punishing students – including students who, as TAs and GAs, are walking the picket line – and is ruining the reputation of York University.