Report on the Special YUFA General Membership Meeting on Return to Campus Plans

At the request of members, a Special Membership Meeting was held on February 9 to discuss the return to campus activities as announced by the York senior administration.

In the notice of the meeting sent to members, YUFA attached eight documents for discussion, including the Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) signed by YUFA and the administration in December 2021 regarding COVID-related policy grievances. A list of these documents appears at the bottom of this message.

The following five motions were discussed and passed by the membership.

Please look for follow-ups to these motions in coming days.

Motion 1 - Right to refuse unsafe work
YUFA shall issue a YUFA-M statement to members, consistent with the YUFA collective agreement, no later than Monday, February 14, explaining their right to refuse unsafe work.

Total Yes vote, when adjusted to remove abstentions: 91%

Motion 2 - Survey of members on return to campus
YUFA shall conduct a survey of its members regarding their perceptions, concerns and needs on return to campus and will report the results in YUFA-M by Friday, 18 February.

Total Yes vote, when adjusted to remove abstentions: 94%

Motion 3 - Supporting our students
YUFA notes with alarm that students do not feel that the return to campus takes student concerns and health and safety seriously, as identified through a petition and the YFS UnsafeAtYork campaign. YUFA takes these concerns very seriously and calls on the York administration to immediately and robustly address these concerns. Their health and safety should remain a priority.

Total Yes vote, when adjusted to remove abstentions: 89%

Motion 4 - Require a third booster dose
YUFA notes with concern that York University does not require a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine despite the privilege Ontario residents and students enjoy to readily and freely obtain one. A booster shot, for those who are not medically exempted, reduces the risk of transmission as well as the morbidity and mortality of the Omicron variant. We call on the York administration to immediately announce the incorporation of such a requirement into York’s vaccine mandate (for those who are eligible and are not exempt for medical reasons), with proper lead time so everyone who has not yet done so, can get the shot.

Total Yes vote, when adjusted to remove abstentions: 85%

Motion 6 - Academic freedom and mode of delivery
In accordance with the YUFA collective agreement, YUFA members should have the academic freedom as course directors to consult with their students and program units and decide on the actions they must take to maintain the academic integrity of their course when facing a serious disruption such as the current pandemic wave, including the option to remain in a remote mode of delivery.

Total Yes vote, when adjusted to remove abstentions: 93%

Documents discussed at the February 9, 2022, Special General Membership Meeting

1. President’s Lenton’s Message: Driving Positive Change 2021-22

“If you find yourself in need of support this year, reach out to us. The pandemic is ongoing, and York will continue to be flexible and compassionate so that we can all prioritize the safety and wellbeing of our community.”

2. York Federation of Students: Unsafe at York

3. 2021-12-14 YUFA-York Memorandum of Settlement re: COVID Grievances

4. Provost’s 2012-12-03 Message re no requirement for dual mode teaching:

“The purpose of this communication is to assure you that where a course is scheduled for in-person delivery, as the instructor for that course, you have no obligation to make exceptions for students by delivering the course to them remotely or in dual format. While technologies make it easier for a student to catch-up on an in-person meet for which they were legitimately absent, this is clearly different than an exception for the full length of the term. Instructors are encouraged to make materials available through eClass generally so that students who miss a class for any reason don’t fall behind, but there is no obligation to deliver the course in more than one mode.

5. OCUFA messages on return to campus: Faculty and academic librarian voices ignored as universities rush to return to in-person learning

6. 2022-02-01 YUFA-M Message on Return to Campus

7. Provost’s 2022-01-28 Message: Return to Campus Supports & Contingency Planning for Instructors

8. Dean McMurtry and Provost Philipps Letter to LA&PS Colleagues