Open letter by Glendon POLS Director 1

March 17, 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.

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

Critical Disability Studies Students and Alumni Response to the CUPE 3903 Strike 1

March 8, 2018

Dear Critical Disability Studies Department Head, Dr. Nancy Viva Davis Halifax, Chair of the School of Health Policy and Management, Dr. Marina Morrow, Graduate Program Director of Health Policy and Equity, Dr. Dennis Raphael, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Dr. Paul McDonald, and all sitting members of the University Senate:

We are writing you as past and current York University Critical Disability Studies students with an urgent request to:

a)   Immediately suspend all classes that continue to be held in your respective programs (Critical Disability Studies, the School of Health Policy and Management, and Health, Nursing, and Environmental Studies) and
b)   Pressure the University Senate to immediately suspend all classes that continue to be run at York University both on campus and online for the duration of the CUPE 3903 strike.

As Critical Disability Studies students, we are immersed in reading, writing, and thinking about social justice every day. We recognize that social justice, and accessibility in particular, are inextricable from the issues CUPE 3903 members are striking over at present – including but not limited to generalized precarity; lack of job and income security; support for survivors of sexual violence; and proactive measures protecting and promoting diversity, equity, and accessibility in processes of hiring and promotion.

Contrary to what York’s official communication may lead students to believe, the continuation of some classes during the strike, along with the liberty granted to professors to make individual decisions about the continuation of their classes, runs contrary to the interests of students, staff, and faculty alike. York University’s cultivated fragmentation of our community pits students against each other, our professors, and our morals – including those that undergird the fundamental principles of our disciplines. Students are being told to choose between supporting a union fighting for the future we are taught to imagine and compromising academics into which we have poured significant time and monies. Despite Senate policy, classes that continue to run during the strike necessarily disadvantage those unwilling and/or unable to cross picket lines, both material and virtual. Students who do not attend classes still running miss accessing lectures, in-class discussions, and the opportunity to interact with course directors and peers, as well as the ability to follow syllabi as planned. While those who do not cross picket lines are entitled to appropriate accommodations following the strike, there is no way to ensure that, compared to peers who have continued to attend class, we will retain an equal ability to excel in our courses.

We know that disabled people face disproportionately high rates of poverty, are subject to un/under-employment, and continue to struggle to access and remain in institutions of higher learning. Those of us who identify as neurodivergent, Mad, D/deaf, and/or disabled are dependent on the kinds of measures being advocated for by CUPE 3903. Health benefits, long-term job security and stability, and financial support, among others, would help address structural barriers and alleviate the enormous stress and anxiety already steeped throughout academia. No one is served by a rotating door that disproportionately expels disabled students, staff, and faculty who rely on whatever material and emotional certainties academia can provide to them. We also recognize that issues of disability and accessibility are compounded by and entangled with other forms of marginalization; the advancement of rights and protections for LGBTTQ* people, racialized people, Indigenous people, women, trans, and non-binary people – as advocated for by CUPE 3903 – are, in fact, advancements for all.

We are writing following suit of other Departments, Faculties, and student groups who have already requested the immediate suspension of classes during the strike in solidarity with CUPE 3903, including Faculty of Environmental Science graduate students; the York Federation of Students Access Centre; the College Presidents Association; and the Departments of Social Science; Sociology; Politics; Gender; Feminist & Women’s Studies; the School of Translation; Politics, Cinema and Media Arts; Equity Studies; Communication Studies; and Social Work.

The School of Health Policy and Management has stated by e-mail that they support CUPE 3903, but we are asking that this sentiment be translated into meaningful action. Rather than continue to allow YUFA faculty to make individual decisions about their courses, we ask that professors set an example to their students of active allyship and praxis by immediately suspending all classes in Health, Nursing, and Environmental Studies.

We do not want to cross picket lines of any kind representing our and our professors’ futures and livelihoods. We do not want to endorse the perpetuation of a two-tiered system of recognition and compensation in academia that leaves us with access to only 40% of all available faculty members at York University for supervision. We do not want to place our professors, colleagues, and peers on the picket lines at greater physical risk by inadvertently stoking animosity among our community and encouraging community members to continue to come to campus. And we do not want to contribute to prolonging this strike; given collective bargaining practices to date, we feel that the strike is much more likely to be effective and resolved in a timely fashion if we respect and respond to the pressing concerns of CUPE 3903 and allow them to disrupt the university’s habitual functioning as per their legal rights.

Precarity, either explicit or condoned through a lack of action, serves no one and its perpetuation represents an inequitable, unsustainable, and untenable future for all those involved in academia and all those yet to be involved.

We urge you to take seriously our request and respond with concrete action by suspending all classes still running.

Sincerely, and in solidarity with CUPE 3903,

Caroline Kovesi, MA Critical Disability Studies
Lorena Moltisanti, MA Critical Disability Studies
Jessica Doberstein, MA Critical Disability Studies
Raya Shields, MA Critical Disability Studies
Rylie Whitchurch, MA Critical Disability Studies
Michelle Shelley, PhD Critical Disability Studies
Fallon Burns, MA Critical Disability Studies
Sara Liden, MA Interdisciplinary Studies
Aisha Farra, MA Critical Disability Studies
Kimberley Sauder, PhD Critical Disability Studies
Hilda Smith, PhD Critical Disability Studies
Kevin Jackson, MA Critical Disability Studies (Alumni)
Dr. Jen Rinaldi, PhD Critical Disability Studies (Alumni, President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association 2017-2018)
Cath Duchastel de Montrouge, MA Critical Disability Studies (Alumni)
Bridget Liang, MA Critical Disability Studies (Alumni)
Fiona Cheuk, MA Critical Disability Studies (Alumni)
Fran Odette, MSW (Past-President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association 2016-2017)
Jenna Reid, PhD Critical Disability Studies
Julia Gruson-Wood
Estee Klar, PhD Critical Disability Studies
Jenna Caprani, MA Critical Disability Studies
Amber Reid, MA Critical Disability Studies (Alumni)

Open letter to York History Re: continuation of classes 1

March 12, 2018

Dear York University History Chair Thabit Abdullah, Graduate History Chair Jeremy Trevett, Undergraduate History Chair Deborah Neill, and all sitting members of the University Senate:

We are writing as a response to the letter posted here.

As your past and current York University Graduate History students we urgently request that you:

  1. Immediately suspend all classes that continue to be held in your respective programs and
  2. Pressure the University Senate and the Liberal Arts and Professional Studies Faculty Council to immediately suspend all classes that continue to be run at York University both on campus and online for the duration of the CUPE 3903 strike.

York University History is known internationally as a centre for social, cultural and intellectual history and has produced some of Canada’s finest scholars in labour, gender, environmental and Indigenous history. As scholars in these fields we have contributed to marginalised histories: the working class; women; the LGBTQ2S community; Indigenous peoples. How can we claim to teach the experiences of those without power and then turn around and ask our undergraduate students to cross picket lines and ignore the working conditions of our Unit 2 colleagues and graduate students? It is unfathomable.

CUPE 3903 has had a direct impact on the success of the History Department, attracting some of the top scholars and training many of us for careers in labour. CUPE 3903 members have gone on to lead faculty unions across Canada. York University is not alone in its struggles with labour disruption. Strikes at York, University of Toronto, Laurentian, University of Manitoba, Carleton, University of Northern British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the historic 2017 strike of Ontario’s Colleges all took place in the last five years.

We believe that the continuation of classes is not in the best interest of students, and does not promote academic integrity. The university administration is aware of this, and its intention is to undermine the union and put its members in a precarious position. During the last strike in 2015, union members in the History Department received death threats on the picket lines, and other members of the union were hit by vehicles. This strike has already, in the first week, put our members in danger from extremely aggressive drivers. Last week an aggressive driver at Chimneystack Road (where History performs picketing duties) drove beside, and then into, the picket line area. His excuse – he was “late to class.” A driver at the Northwest Gate assaulted the picketers because he had a midterm – was it one of ours? Failing to cancel classes directly threatens our members’ health and safety – members of not only CUPE 3903, but also members of the History Department. Heavier traffic coming into campus puts our bodies in danger. Considering this very real threat to our members and colleagues, we earnestly implore history faculty to consider our safety and not conduct their classes during the strike.

Other departments, faculties, and student groups have already requested the immediate suspension of classes during the strike in solidarity with CUPE 3903, including: Faculty of Environmental Science graduate students; the York Federation of Students Access Centre; the College President’s Association; and the Departments of Social Science; Sociology; Political Science; Gender; Feminist & Women’s Studies; the School of Translation; Cinema and Media Arts; Equity Studies; Communication Studies; FES; Social Work, and Anthropology.

We ask you to reconsider your position.

In Solidarity with 3903 and our other faculty unions across Canada,

  • Aaron Armstrong, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Aaron Miedema,  BA Carleton University, BFA York University; MA Royal Military College of Canada,PhD (ABD) York University
  • Abril Liberatori, PhD York University
  • Adrian Gamble, PhD candidate, ABD, York University
  • Aitana Guia, PhD York University, Assistant Professor, California State University Fullerton
  • Alan Corbiere, Ph. D candidate, York University
  • Alban Bargain, PhD York University; Contract Faculty at York
  • Alex Gagne, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Amanda Robinson, BA, MA (York University), PhD Candidate, ABD (York University), Course Director, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Andrew Watson, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan
  • Angela Rooke, BA University of Waterloo; MA, PhD York University
  • Angela Zhang, BA University of Toronto; MA Queen’s University; PhD; CUPE 3903
  • Anne Toews, PhD (ABD) York University; Instructor, Langara College; Langara Faculty Association
  • Ashlee Barwell HBA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University
  • Avram Heisler, BA (Specialized Honours), MA, PhD (ABD), York University – current CUPE 3903 Steward, Department of History
  • Barbara Molas, BA Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain), MA Freie Universitat Berlin (Germany) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain), PhD candidate, York University
  • Barry Torch, BA, Wilfrid Laurier University, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Brad Meredith, BA, MA, PhD (ABD)
  • Brittany Luby, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, University of Guelph
  • Brooke Sales-Lee, BA University of California Berkeley, MA York University
  • Bruce Douville, PhD York University — Part-time faculty member in History at Algoma University
  • Carly Murdoch, BA York University, MA University of Western Ontario, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Carly Naismith, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University, CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Carly Simpson, BA, MA Western University; PhD (ABD) York University; Partial Load Faculty Conestoga College; OPSEU 237
  • Caroline Butt, BA (Hons), Memorial University, MA, Dalhousie University, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Chelsea Bauer CUPE 3903 Unit 1 Bargaining Team
  • Christine Grandy, PhD, York University; Senior Lecturer, University of Lincoln; British Academy Mid-Career Fellow
  • Christine McLaughlin, BA, MA, Trent University, PhD (ABD) York University, Executive Director, UOIT Faculty Association
  • Christopher Frank, PhD,York University; Associate Professor of History, University of Manitoba
  • Christopher Grafos, PhD, Research Associate, York University
  • Christopher Kshyk, BA (Hons.), University of Winnipeg; MA, York University
  • Chris Vogel, BA Western University, MA, PhD York University, CUPE 3903 Member
  • Cristiana Conti, BA, Tor Vergata University, Rome (Italy), MA, PhD (ABD), York University
  • Cynthia Loch-Drake, PhD, York University, Contract Faculty, Schulich School of Business (CUPE 3903-exempt)
  • Dagomar Degroot, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
  • Dan Horner, BA, McGill University; MA, PhD, York University; Assistant Professor, Ryerson University
  • Daniel Ross, MA, PhD York University; Assistant Professor, UQÀM
  • Daniel Xie, BA, University of Toronto; MA, York University
  • Dave Hazzan, BA, University of Victoria; MA, Athabasca University; PhD student, York University; CUPE 3903 Member
  • Dave Smith, PhD, York University, Professor, Durham College, OPSEU 354 member
  • David Molenhuis, BA, University of Western Ontario; MA, York University
  • Della Roussin, BA, MA-UBC, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Douglas Hunter, PhD, York University
  • Elaine Naylor, Ph.D, York University, Associate Professor, Mount Allison University
  • Elizabeth O’Gorek, Capital Community News (Washington DC), BA University of Winnipeg, MA University of Waterloo, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Émilie Pigeon, PhD; Lab Coordinator, Métis Family and Community Research Lab, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies University of Ottawa; APTPUO
  • Emily Vey, BA York; MA Laurentian;  PhD Candidate York University
  • Enrico Moretto, BA, University of Toronto; MA, PhD Student, York University
  • Erica McCloskey, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Erin Dolmage, BA, MA, University of British Columbia; PhD (ABD) York University; Professor Seneca College; OPSEU 560
  • Evelyn Hielkema, MA York University, PhD Candidate, York University, CUPE 3903
  • Francesca D’Amico-Cuthbert, PhD (ABD) York University, Filmmaker
  • Funke Aladejebi, PhD York University, MA York University, Assistant Professor (limited term), Gender and Women’s Studies Department, Trent University.
  • Geoff Read, PhD (York University), Associate Professor of History, Huron University College
  • Gilberto Fernandes, PhD, York University; Postdoctoral Visitor, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies; Course Director (YUFA), HIST4530, Department of History, York University
  • Gillian Poulter, BA, BEd, MA, PhD (York University), Associate Professor, Acadia University
  • Golaleh P., PhD (ABD) York University
  • Graeme Melcher, BA (Hons.), Queen’s University, MA, York University; JD, Dalhousie
  • Haley Gienow-McConnell, Brock University, BA, MA History; York University, PhD ABD History
  • Harrison Forsyth, BA, York; MA, University of Alberta; PhD (ABD) York; CUPE 3903
  • Ian Mosby, PhD, York University
  • Jaclyn Mika, BA, Ryerson University, MA student York University
  • James Muir, PhD, York University; Associate Professor of History and Law, University of Alberta.
  • James Naylor, PhD, York University; Professor Brandon University
  • Janice Matsumura, PhD (York University), Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University
  • Jarett Henderson, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, Mount Royal University
  • Jarvis Brownlie, Professor, University of Manitoba
  • Jason Chartrand, BA (Hons.) King’s University College at Western University; MA, PhD Student, York University, GHSA Co-President, CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Jay Young, PhD York University, AMAPCEO
  • Jesse Thistle BA; MA; PhD Student, York University; Resident Scholar of Indigenous Homelessness The Homeless Hub
  • Jen Hassum, BA, MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Jim Clifford, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, University of Saskatchewan.
  • Joanna L. Pearce, BA, MA, PhD (ABD), York University; CUPE 3903
  • Jodi Burkett, BA (Hons) University of Toronto, MA McGill, PhD York, Principal Lecturer and Subject Leader for History University of Portsmouth UK
  • Johanna Lewis, BSc, University of Toronto; MA, PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Joseph Tohill, PhD York University
  • Julia Pyryeskina, BA, York University; MA, York University (History); YUSA member
  • Karen Macfarlane, PhD, York University (History)
  • Karlee Sapoznik Evans, BAH, MA, PhD York University; Research and Policy Advisor, Government of Manitoba.
  • Kate Barker, BA (Hons), Queen’s University; BAA, Ryerson University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; part-time instructor Ryerson School of Journalism; CUPE 3904
  • Katharine Bausch, PhD (York University), Assistant Professor, Carleton University
  • Kathryn Magee Labelle, PhD; Associate Professor University of Saskatchewan
  • Kevin Burris, BA (Hons), Simon Fraser University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Kevin Chrisman, PhD Candidate, York University
  • Kristin Burnett, PhD, York University; Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Learning, Lakehead University;
  • Kristine Alexander, PhD York University, Canada Research Chair & Assistant Professor of History, the University of Lethbridge
  • Kristopher Radford PhD, PhD York University
  • Kyle Prochnow, BA, Saint Mary’s College of California; MA, Boston College; PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Lee Slinger, MA PhD York University; Editor, The Dance Current
  • Lisa Chilton, PhD York University, Associate Professor, History Dept, UPEI
  • Luke Hagemann, BA, UNC Chapel Hill; MA, York University; PhD Student, Emory University
  • Lydia Wytenbroek, BA, MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Lynne Marks, PhD York University, Professor, History Department, University of Victoria
  • Lynn MacKay, BA, MA, PhD (York University), Professor, Brandon University
  • Madeleine Chartrand, BA, University of Manitoba; MA, PhD York University
  • Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D (York University), Executive Director, Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
  • Marlee Couling, BAHon, Brandon University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Maryann Buri, BA, Brandon University; MA, PhD (ABD) York University; CUPE 3903
  • Mary Franks, BA, University of California Santa Cruz, MA University of Kansas, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Mathieu Brûlé, BA, MA, University of Ottawa; PHD York University (ABD); Negotiator, Public Service Alliance of Canada; member Unifor 2025
  • Matthew Poggi, PhD (ABD) York; CUPE 3903 (Unit 1)
  • Matthew Robertshaw, BA, MA University of Guelph; PhD student York University; CUPE 3903 Unit 1 Member
  • Maximilian Smith, BA, University of Toronto; MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Michael Ainsworth, BA, Laurier; BEd, York University; MA, York University; PhD (ABD), York University
  • Michael Akladios, BA (Spec. Hons.), MA, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Natasha Henry, PhD Student, York University
  • Nathan Ince, BA Carleton University, MA York University PhD (ABD) McGill University
  • Nelson Marques, BA, MA, York University; MA; PhD (ABD) University of Miami.
  • Noa Nahmias, PhD (ABD) York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Olya Murphy, PhD (ABD) York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Pamela J. Fuentes, PhD York University, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Pace University-NYC
  • Patrice Allen, PhD Student York University, CUPE 3903 member
  • Paul Aikenhead, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Raluca Andrei, BA, BEd, MA, York University; OCT
  • Reut Ullman, BA, MA (York University); former CUPE 3903 Unit 3 member; PhD candidate at Columbia University
  • Richard Aronson, CPA,CMA, BComm Concordia University; BA, MA, PhD(ABD) York University
  • Rob Kristofferson, PhD (York), Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Ronald Morris, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Ruth Frager, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, McMaster University
  • Ryan Targa, PhD (ABD), York University, Course Director, CUPE 3903 Member
  • Samantha Desroches, BA, Western University; MA, York University, PhD (ABD) Western University
  • Samantha Rohrig, BA, University of Manitoba; MA, Brock University; PhD Student, York University; CUPE 3903
  • Sara Farhan, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Sarah Elvins, MA, York University; PhD, York University; Associate Professor University of Manitoba
  • Sara Howdle, BA, UofM; MA; PhD (ABD) York, Coordinator for the Indigenous Women’s  Resilience Project, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta
  • Sara Muscat, BA, Carleton University; MA, Queen’s University; PhD (ABD), York University
  • Serge Miville, PhD York University; Professeur adjoint, Chaire de recherche en histoire de l’Ontario français, Université Laurentienne; LUFAPPUL
  • Shannon Stettner, PhD (York University), Contract Faculty, University of Waterloo
  • Sheila McManus, PhD York University 2001, Professor of History, University of Lethbridge
  • Stacy Nation-Knapper, PhD York University; Postdoctoral Fellow, Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University
  • Stuart Henderson, PhD
  • Susan Roy, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo, former York postdoc
  • Tarah Brookfield, PhD, York University; Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Thomas Peace, PhD (York University); Assistant Professor, Huron University College
  • Tom Hooper, PhD York University, CSSP York History. BA, MA University of Guelph
  • Tommaso Leoni, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Travis Hay, PhD (ABD) York University; MA Lakehead University; Sessional Instructor in Departments of Indigenous Learning and Political Science, Lakehead University
  • Tristan Ellis, MA York University. High School Teacher, Kuwait City. OCT.
  • Valentina Capurri, PhD (York University)
  • Valerie Deacon, PhD (York University), Clinical Assistant Professor, NYU Shanghai
  • Vanessa S. Oliveira, PhD York University; Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
  • Victoria Jackson, PhD (ABD) York University
  • Will Baker, PhD (ABD), York;  former steward, CUPE, Local 3903
  • Will Fysh, MA (York University), PhD candidate (University of Toronto)
  • William Gleberzon PhD MED, York University, History and Humanities Department
  • William Goldbloom, BA, University of British Columbia; MA, York University (History); JD, University of Toronto
  • Zachary Consitt, BA, BEd, MA, PhD Candidate, York University; CUPE 3903

YFS Statement Regarding the CUPE 3903 Strike Reply

March 14, 2018

We have entered the second week of the CUPE 3903 strike and the York Administration has declined all offers from CUPE 3903 to continue bargaining and reach an agreement. We are incredibly disappointed in this decision, as we believe that if the University bargains in good faith, and offers a fair and affordable package, without setting up pre-conditions, this strike can end. Our paramount concern has been for our members; the undergraduate students, and the impact this strike is having on them, and therefore we strongly encourage York University Administration to continue bargaining with the urgency it requires, as opposed to forcing students to cross picket lines.

Our continued stance is that education is a right, not a privilege. Many of our members work precarious jobs with little, and in the case of un-paid internships: no pay, with zero job security. Even as they work long and hard hours, while balancing classes and completing schoolwork, they live well below the poverty line. Consequently, the YFS supports CUPE 3903 as they demand that their members don’t have to live below the poverty line, that hard work is rewarded with job security, equity and justice in the workplace, and that workers are fairly compensated and not ruthlessly exploited. Workers Rights and Student Rights are Human Rights.

In accordance with York University’s Senate Policy, section 2.2 Fairness to Students, while CUPE 3903 remains on strike, undergraduate students have the right to refuse to cross picket lines without facing any penalties. The York Administration has shown a complete disregard to the plight of undergraduate students by choosing to continue courses, despite the fact that 60 percent of the teaching staff are on strike. The YFS further condemns the ongoing divisive tactics employed by the York University Administration amongst undergraduate students and their instructors: students should not be pitted against themselves and their educators, bullied and threatened to complete course work, nor should they be forced into crossing the picket lines.

The York Federation of Students (YFS) has been a leading advocate for affordable post-secondary education: fighting for lower tuition fees, more grants and greater fairness for international students. Therefore, the York Federation of Students remains undivided in solidarity with Teachers Assistants, Contract Faculty, Graduate Assistants and Research Assistants who have been treated unfairly by the York University Administration, as they continue to fight for a fair, accessible and affordable educational environment.

The York Federation of Students represents over 50,000 undergraduate students at York University and will continue to mobilize for more affordable, accessible education not just for undergraduates, but for all students.

For more information please contact:

Rawan Habib, President, York Federation of Students or

Murtaza Ghulam, Executive Director, York Federation of Students,

Two motions from the Department of Humanities 1

The Department of Humanities held an emergency department meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, to discuss the CUPE strike and its impact. Below are the Department statement on the strike and a motion to the Senate Executive, both of which passed unanimously at the meeting:

1. Department Statement

The Department of Humanities supports the motion passed at LA&PS Faculty Council on March 12, 2014:

Be it resolved that

The Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies take the decision to call upon Senate to suspend all classes within LAPS for the duration of the CUPE 3903 Strike without delay.

We reaffirm our commitment to our CUPE colleagues and recognize their indispensable contributions to teaching in Humanities. TAs and CUPE instructors are integral to our programs and without their contribution, the integrity of our courses cannot be maintained. Like other departments have done, we encourage the university to work with CUPE 3903 to arrive at a fair and equitable agreement as quickly as possible.

We also support our students  rights, under York University Senate Policy, not to participate in academic activities, including their right to refuse to cross a virtual or actual picket line without being penalized for whatever reason. In addition, we recognize that many of our CUPE colleagues are also our students who face constantly increasing costs, eroding living conditions and uncertain futures.

As our CUPE colleagues state in their March 11 letter to the Department: the strike has put students in a difficult situation, creating uncertainty for many. Suspending classes would help create some clarity for students. Suspending classes will also facilitate CUPE and the employer to focus on arriving at a fair and equitable settlement to this strike as quickly as possible.

2. Motion to Senate Executive

The Department also unanimously approved the following motion to the Senate Executive:

Following the outcome of the March 8 Senate meeting, the Department of Humanities protests the Senate executive current interpretation of the York Act. In its written presentation to that meeting and in subsequent statements, Senate executive states that decisions regarding the business and affairs of the University are vested in the Board even where they may have an impact on academic policy.

The Department of Humanities asks the Senate Executive to assume its proper authority in all academic matters including the decision to suspend classes for the duration of the CUPE strike.

Statement to York’s Senate Reply

March 12, 2018

Statement to York’s Senate submitted by Senator Richard Wellen:

We the undersigned Senators would like to address recent statements by the University Counsel and members of the senior administration of the university which have asserted that York University’s senior administration and/or Board of Governors has authority or veto power regarding decisions to suspend classes during a labour dispute.

It has always been understood (and pursued in practice) that Senate, in conjunction with Senate Executive, has responsibility for decisions to suspend classes during a labour dispute based on considerations of academic integrity and fairness to students. The advice of the administration and other bodies within the university has always been considered by Senate and Senate Executive, but the decision taken has always been understood as lying within the purview of Senate.

This policy is founded on the principle of Senate’ s authority over academic policy as enshrined in the York Act, which is the governing legislation of the university, as well as relevant policies on disruption and class cancellation. In short, Senate in conjunction with Senate Executive, is the body that is properly constituted to make such decisions.

Recognizing the authority given to Senate over academic policy is always important as a general matter, but it is particularly so during a labour dispute or a strike. In such circumstances, the senior administration and the Board of Governors, no matter how well-intentioned, are positioned as labour relations protagonists responsible for negotiating with the union in the strike. By vesting responsibility for class suspensions and other similar matters in the Senate – which is meant to take a disinterested stance towards labour relations – the primacy of issues of academic integrity and fairness to students can be given greater assurance and the decisions made will have greater legitimacy. Moreover, the membership of Senate and Senate Executive is composed of multiple stakeholders – students, faculty, staff and administrators – who act in concert to oversee and enact the academic policies of the university.

No matter what view one holds on the question of suspending classes during a labour dispute, we believe that the authority and role of Senate in such decisions must be preserved in the interest of academic integrity and collegial governance by Senate as established in the York Act. It is the duty of Senate to consider and determine this issue, a duty that must not be denied the Senate by Senate Executive or other bodies within the university.

Signed by:

Julie Allen
Kurosh Amoui
Kym Bird
Heather Campbell
Devin Clancy
Sonny Day
William Denton
Amanda Glasbeek
Ricardo Grinspun
Rawan Habib
Merle Jacobs
Sirvan Karimi
Muhammad Ali Khalidi
Willem Maas
Marcia MaCaulay
Giulio Malfatti
Andrea Medovarski
Merouan Mekouar
Kim Michasiw
Jacinthe Michaud
Marina Morrow
Mina Rajabi Paak
David Skinner
Talha Tanweer
Richard Wellen
Lesley Wood

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