Advisories

Access Copyright / “Document Preservation Notice”

The following was sent to YUFA Members 24 July 2013:

As YUFA members may be aware, Access Copyright has filed a statement of claim against York University, alleging that infringing copies have been made for use in York University course packs. The University has indicated that it will defend itself vigorously, and to that end, has engaged an outside legal firm. Four YUFA members (and one CUPE 3903 member) are named in this statement of claim. YUFA contacted each YUFA member individually, to help provide support and advice throughout this process. We have also consulted with our own legal counsel. One of the chief stewards (Sheila Embleton) accompanied each member when they met with the University’s outside counsel, as part of the University’s gathering evidence to defend itself against Access Copyright’s claim. It is important to note that this case is against York University, not against any individual.

On June 28, 2013, all YUFA members received a memo entitled “Document Preservation Notice” from Harriet Lewis, University Counsel. YUFA believes that this memo fear mongers in its lack of contextualization. Further, in several respects the memo overreaches in what it requires or potentially requires of our members. In response the YUFA Executive unanimously passed a motion to file a policy grievance.

YUFA members’ due diligence lies in following the University regulations on fair use in copying. YUFA again advises its members that it would be prudent to follow York policy on copyright to avoid any possibility of individual liability. See: http://copyright.info.yorku.ca/

Please also note the following statement on that website: “For more information or assistance with your decisions in copying or posting, contact York University’s Copyright Office at copy@yorku.ca.” Copyright is a complex and rapidly evolving area, and thus we encourage you to do so.

CAUT Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Material, February 2013

Academic Administrative Positions

YUFA has learned that a number of academic units are experiencing difficulty in filling the positions of chair or director, undergraduate and graduate director, and various coordinators, apparently as a result of the reduction of previous levels of course release for service under Appendix P of the Collective Agreement. YUFA urges its members to make the fullest use of Article 18.16 of that agreement, which allows for a special agreement between a dean and a faculty member considering an administrative position under Appendix P. Members are reminded that they are entitled to take a YUFA member, such as an Officer of Executive or a Chief Steward, to any meeting with a dean. YUFA also reminds members that, although deans approve the appointments, in most units established practices allow a unit to recommend candidates for those positions in a collegial fashion. Units are encouraged to contact one of the Chief Stewards for clarification.

YUFA Advises Not Submitting cv in Digital Format

YUFA advises members to submit their cvs only in hardcopy format for the following reasons:

  • Use of your cv by the Employer is “subject to the employee’s agreement as to those portions of his / her curriculum vitae which may be so used”,
  • Personnel files are and should be maintained in hardcopy format only.

Please note that Article 22.07 of the Collective Agreement specifically states that, “Digital copies of curricula vitarum of employees shall not be required by the Employer”.

Student Evaluations – Paper or Electronic?

Through the Joint Committee on the Administration of the Agreement, YUFA has confirmed with the Employer that YUFA members have the right to choose whether to use electronic or paper student evaluations. This applies to all members, not just those going through the tenure & promotion process. It is recommended all NON-TENURED faculty use hard copy evaluations, in order to obtain a higher participation rate. Some communications concerning online evaluations erroneously implied that online student comments would be used in tenure and promotions. This is not true. YUFA also reminds faculty that it is a violation of the Collective Agreement and York’s Tenure Procedures to include any anonymous student comments in a tenure and/or promotion file. In fact, no anonymous comments may be kept in any file.

Are You Being Pressured to Teach Online?

The Collective Agreement places considerable limits on what members can be required to do with respect to teaching new and existing courses online. Article 18.08.3 states:

Assignment of courses using alternate modes of delivery shall be consistent with the pedagogic and academic judgements and principles of the faculty member employee as to the appropriateness of the use of technology in the circumstances. Furthermore, it is recognized that not all courses are appropriate for alternate delivery. Normally, a faculty member will not be required to convert a course without his/her agreement.

If an issue arises which needs clarification, contact the YUFA office.

Completion of the Academic and Administrative Review Research Information Form

On April 1, 2014, the employer communicated to department and school chairs and directors regarding the Academic and Administrative Program Review Research Information Form (RIF). In that memo, the employer reiterated its intention to pre-populate the RIF using data from members’ CVs and added that chairs and directors of departments “have the option of completing the Form themselves.”

Article 22.07 of the Collective Agreement subjects the employer’s use of any data contained in a member’s CV to “the employee’s agreement as to those portions of his/her curriculum vitae which may be so used.” YUFA has repeatedly communicated to the employer its understanding that this approval requirement also applies to aggregate representations of information.

Since the requirement to secure each individual member’s permission clearly rests with the employer, chairs and directors may prefer to use the employer’s pre-populated RIF, thus relieving chairs and directors of the need to seek member agreement in order to answer questions 10-22.

If the aggregate results of the RIF exercise seem inaccurate, clarification and correction are the responsibility of the employer. YUFA advises members to notify the association of any inaccuracies or concerns.