Holiday greetings / free speech concerns

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of YUFA, I want to wish all of you a joyful holiday season and a happy new year.

As you may know, following a mandate from the provincial government, York University Senate and the Board of Governors have approved a statement of policy on free speech. The document merely gathers all relevant existing York policies under one umbrella statement and thus introduces nothing new. Hate speech is explicitly forbidden.

However, this move by the Ford administration represents an unprecedented and unwarranted intrusion of government into collegial affairs. Moreover, as many members have noted with concern, free speech policies may also provide protective cover for far-right groups with xenophobic and reactionary views, who have expressed their intent to use the initiative to secure a foothold on university campuses.

YUFA commits itself to the ongoing defence of our academic freedom. We will work as well to keep secure the Collective Agreement and legal protections that guarantee all of us—and members of vulnerable and racialized communities in particular—a safe work environment.

For further reading, you can find materials prepared by CAUT here and by OCUFA here.

Look in the coming year for more communications about this and other matters of interest to our members.

All best to you and yours,
Art Redding
President, York University Faculty Association