Special Senate meeting at 3pm today

A photo of the Ross Building, in winter, with snow in the foreground

YUFA is encouraging members and the wider York community to attend today’s special Senate meeting, which will discuss the role of Senate in relation to the strike by CUPE 3903, and the authority of Senate to direct the suspension of classes.

The meeting takes place today (Thursday, March 8) from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Building. While the meeting is open to the entire York community, only Senators have voice and may move and vote on motions. With permission from Senators, guests may speak to the meeting.

The meeting agenda is available here. Community members who are not Senators may attend the meeting in Curtis Lecture Hall B.

YUFA is aware of and respects the range of opinions about cancelling classes that exists among YUFA members. Indeed, YUFA has vigorously defended the right, which is recognized in Senate policy, of individual course directors to use their own professional academic judgment in determining whether their classes should proceed during the current labour disruption (see YUFA statements hereherehere, and here), where Senate has not decided to suspend classes.

In recent days, YUFA has continued to defend this right, as individual course directors have experienced growing resistance from their Deans/Principal to recognize some course directors’ decisions regarding the scheduling of their classes during the strike.

What’s at stake in today’s Senate meeting goes beyond whether classes will continue during CUPE’s strike, and calls into question the authority of the Senate to make decisions regarding the possible cancellation or suspension of classes due to labour disruptions at the University. This authority is recognized in the York University Act, a long history of past practice, and recent legal precedents.

YUFA is deeply concerned that, in the context of the administration’s chaotic response to the strike, the administration is attempting to narrow the authority and powers of Senate and, as a consequence, to shift power away from properly constituted collegial bodies to the University’s senior managers.

Independent of the question of whether classes should be cancelled on a University-wide basis, YUFA defends the right of Senate to exercise its proper authority on relevant matters of academic policy, including this one, and in preserving the processes of collegial governance in which faculty play a central role and that allow the University to function.