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A photograph of a close-up of buttons displaying YUFA's name and logo
Backgrounder for General Membership Meeting on governance
YUFA members have experienced a widespread deterioration in collegial rights in matters of University governance. At a meeting earlier this year, members voted to convene a General Membership Meeting (GMM) focused on governance issues.
In the intervening period, YUFA brought forward a comprehensive set of proposals to address governance issues in negotiations for our new contract, but unfortunately they were rejected by the Employer with one or two minor exceptions.
Nevertheless, the growing collegiality deficit at our university remains a leading concern of members of YUFA. Earlier this year, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) struck a special committee to study governance procedures and issues across the province. In an earlier backgrounder, we provided a table showing that faculty participation on the Board of Governors is weaker at York than at any of the other universities in the province.
The following summary addresses this issue. It details our concerns with:
- the decline of meaningful faculty participation through input into decanal, vice-presidential, and presidential searches and re-appointments;
- the need to confirm Senate’s authority over academic matters as established by the York University Act;
- the failure of York’s Board of Governors to fulfill its own explicit mandate (expressed in its by-laws) to represent—and to be responsive to—a broad range of groups and responsibilities within the University and in the community at large; and
- the importance of stronger collegial participation in budgetary and equity matters.
Open and transparent searches and appointments
There are many universities in Canada and the US that have fully open searches for senior administrators and deans that attract excellent candidates.
York should return to its past presidential search and appointment process, which, until 2005, was also open to the participation of YUFA colleagues at Senate after the short-listing stage. We sought unsuccessfully to achieve this through bargaining. Similarly, there should be an appropriate consultative and collegial process regarding the re-appointment of the president for another term.
YUFA supports an open search for all academic administrative positions, including all vice-presidents and all re-appointments for additional terms.
Appointment of Deans and Principals
The senior administration has recently announced a pilot project that could allow for partially open decanal searches in which the final shortlisted candidates would give an address to the Faculty Council in question and input would be sought from members of the Faculty.
Unfortunately, the Employer’s model only applies to cases where all of the final shortlisted candidates agree to an open stage. If even one candidate asks for a secret and confidential search, the process would remain fully closed. This open stage needs to be fully regularized for all searches.
Role of Senate
In relation to Senate, it is clear that the recognition of bicameral governance mandated by Section 12 of theYork University Act needs to be upheld, especially with respect to re-affirming Senate’s responsibility for the academic policies of the University.
In particular, provisions are needed to ensure that Senate approves all mission statements, strategic and academic plans and strategic mandate agreements that have a bearing on academic policy. In a recently imposed practice, key planning documents dealing with academic policy, such as the Institutional Integrated Resource Plan (IIRP) and the Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) negotiated with the Ontario Government, have only been brought to Senate for discussion and not for a vote and approval by Senate members.
In addition to restoring our voting privileges in relation to academic planning and strategic mandate agreements, we must ensure that such documents are circulated in a timely manner to Senate and Faculty Councils, so that faculty may review, discuss, and, if necessary, amend them in advance of university or external (government) deadlines.
Board of Governors
Records drawn from OCUFA show that York has the poorest faculty representation on its Board of Governors in Ontario. Faculty have expressed increasing concern that the composition of York’s Board no longer fulfills the mandate of membership breadth and community representation clearly enshrined in the Board’s own by-laws. That document asserts that the Board’s external members should:
broadly represent the public community. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing such candidates shall be reflective of the Arts, Business, Industry, Labour, Professions, Sciences and the community at large.
It is clear that this by-law is not being observed. While some Board members will and should be drawn from areas of business and finance, the current membership of the Board is drawn almost exclusively from those areas.
Other issues concerning the Board of Governors include the unusual exclusion of “internal” Board members, particularly faculty members, from the most powerful committees of the Board, and the requirement that faculty representatives to the Board shed their YUFA membership to serve in this capacity.
Currently the Senate elects two members to serve on the Board. There is no provision that these members will be faculty members. In the recent round of negotiations, we secured agreement that the President would ask Senate to require that these elected members be faculty members in order to match similar requirements for staff and student representation on the Board. Elected YUFA representatives to the Board should not be excluded from YUFA, or potentially forced to forfeit their collective agreement rights, including academic freedom.
Members of other campus unions who are elected to serve on the Board do not have to relinquish their membership in their unions. In the recently concluded round of bargaining, YUFA received a commitment that this issue would be raised at JCOAA. Hopefully, progress will be made on this problem.
University Budget Advisory Committee
The President has recently established a new University Budget Advisory Committee mandated to address the budget issues underlying academic and institutional priorities. Unfortunately, there is no provision for faculty and student appointees to the committee. This is a departure from the constitution of budget advisory committees at most other universities. The current composition includes only the President, Vice-Presidents, and Deans on a rotating basis. The University needs to adopt the model of other universities such as the University of Toronto and Dalhousie, where faculty and student members are included on the committee. This would begin to address the frequent expressions of concern at York about the lack of financial transparency.
As faculty members, we need to address collectively the fact that the Employer has supplanted what were, until recently, normatively understood to be the collegial rights of the University’s academic staff. The changes outlined above provide an opportunity to cultivate a structure of governance that serves our central values, principles, and protections as appropriate governors of academic matters and academic freedom at York.
This is also important in relation to the nomination and appointment of upper level administrators (president, vice-president/provost, all vice-presidents, and deans) and members of the formal bodies (e.g., Senate and the Board) that are responsible for fair, democratic, and just university governance.
Download this document as a PDF here.
Please mark your calendars - you are invited to the Fall General Membership Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 13, 2018 from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm in Founders 152 (Assembly Hall). The major focus of the meeting is on governance: What is YUFA's role in promoting collegial governance? A meeting on governance was requested back in the Spring by YUFA members.
Additional items of business include the Ontario Government policies on higher education, a review of the audited financial statements, and a constitutional change on the role of the JCOAA Co-chair.
Lunch will be provided. Attached is a meeting package of documents. A background document on governance (Attachment #3b) will be made available later this week. Please bring this package with you to the meeting as there will be a limited number of hard copies available. We urge you to attend this important meeting to share your thoughts on how governance can be improved and strengthened at York.
The Senate Tenure and Promotion Appeals Committee (STAPAC) hears appeals in the instances of a negative recommendation by the Review Committee for tenure, or a delay decision for promotion to full professor (Section F.3.6 of the Tenure and Promotions Policy, Criteria and Procedures Senate document).
YUFA and the Employer recently signed a letter of understanding to create a working group to discuss and finalize the actual procedures STAPAC will utilize when dealing with appeals. YUFA is seeking two (2) members to serve on this working group. Those with experience with the tenure and promotions process, and those with particular knowledge of appeals, are particularly invited to come forward.
If you are interested in being a part of this working group, please submit a statement of interest outlining any qualifications or other relevant information to YUFA at [email protected] (subject line: STAPAC working group).
Nominations will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 16, 2018.
A close-up of a microphone with a blurry image of a crowded meeting in the background
Save the date!
On November 13, YUFA will hold a General Membership Meeting (GMM). The order of the day will be governance, in response to requests from the membership to discuss this issue. All YUFA members are encouraged to attend.
The details of the GMM are as follows:
General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, November 13
10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Founders Assembly Hall
152 Founders College
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The GMM is open to all YUFA members and is governed by the YUFA Constitution. A meeting package, including the agenda, will be posted soon.
Accommodation: Members who require accommodation should contact YUFA as soon as possible: email [email protected] (please use subject line: Accommodations).
YUFA conducted an online ratification vote on the October 16, 2018 Memorandum of Settlement for a Renewal Collective Agreement from Thursday, October 18 at 8:00pm (following the Special GMM) to Monday October 22 at 5:00pm.
Ratification votes are governed by Article 9.2 of the YUFA Constitution.
The results of the ratification vote are as follows:
YES: 948 (93.7%) RATIFIED
NO: 64 (6.3%)
YUFA is also please to announce that the Memorandum of Settlement for a Renewal Collective Agreement has also been fully ratified by the Employer.
A photograph of a close-up of buttons displaying YUFA's name and logo
The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that YUFA has signed a tentative agreement with the Employer for the renewal of the YUFA Collective Agreement. At a special meeting this morning, the Executive Committee voted unanimously to endorse the agreement and to recommend it to the members for ratification.
A summary of the agreement is available here.
The full Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) is available here.
As per Article 3 of the YUFA Constitution, a ratification meeting will take place as follows:
Special General Membership Meeting:
To ratify a renewal of the Collective Agreement
Thursday, October 18
Registration opens at 6:15 p.m.
Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
206 Accolade Building WEST (map)
Dinner will be available at the meeting from 6:15 p.m., including vegetarian options.
During the meeting, the Bargaining Team and the Executive Committee will review the tentative agreement and answer question from members.
As per Article 9.2 of the YUFA Constitution, a ratification vote will take place from Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. to Monday, October 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Voting will be by electronic ballot. The results will be announced on YUFA-M shortly after voting ends on October 22.
Eligible voters will receive by email an invitation to vote in the ratification process when voting begins on October 18. Voting instructions will be included in the email.
Childcare: YUFA will reimburse the cost of childcare for members who require it in order to attend the ratification meeting: email [email protected] (subject line: Childcare).
Accommodation: Members who require accommodation should contact YUFA by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17: email [email protected] (subject line: Accommodations).
On behalf of the members, the Executive Committee would like to express its deepest gratitude and appreciation to the members of the YUFA Bargaining Team and staff, who worked tirelessly over the past several months to achieve this settlement.
The Executive Committee
An image of the poster of the film screening
Celebrate Co-op Week!
YUFA is pleased to endorse the film screening of:
Wednesday, October 17
Nat Taylor Cinema
N102 Ross Building
Watch the trailer here.
The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:
- Anton Smolski: York University alumnus, co-producer of the film
- Leo Panitch: Professor Emeritus, York University
- J.J. McMurtry: Interim Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University
The panel discussion will be followed by a reception at et al. the faculty & grad student café & pub.
Spaces are limited. Please reserve a seat by emailing [email protected].
- Green Campus Co-operative
- York University Faculty Association (YUFA)
- York University Graduate Students' Association (YUGSA)
- Office of the Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS)
- Office of the Dean, Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES)
- Business & Society Program
- Department of Social Science
- Graduate Environmental Studies Student Association (GESSA)
- Alterna Savings
- Business & Society Club
Members may request overwork compensation for strike-related additional work. This includes teaching and administrative work. Members who hold an Appendix P position (such as Chair, Graduate Program Director, or Program Coordinator) or any other academic admin position may request that their strike-related overwork be compensated. Members who performed extra teaching or admin work of any kind due to the strike may request compensation.
If your overwork compensation is unreasonably denied, please contact YUFA at [email protected].
Members may request compensation by completing this form. Please submit the completed form to your Dean’s Office or Principal's Office, along with a statement outlining the additional work you were required to undertake.
YUFA has made a number of other agreements with the Employer on matters related to the CUPE 3903 strike in 2018.
T. & P. stop-out
Members may request a T. & P. stop-out from their Dean or Principal for the strike year. Members who have questions or concerns about the impact of the strike on their T. & P. process should contact YUFA at [email protected].
For more information, please click here.
Teaching evaluations from strike years need not be included in candidate files, or used for any matter whatsoever, unless the faculty member chooses to include them. That includes evaluations from the March 2015 strike year (Fall-Winter 2014-15 courses and Winter 2015 courses), as well as the 2018 strike year (Fall-Winter 2017-18, Winter 2018, and Summer 2018).
For more information, please click here.
A photo of raised hands
At its September 2018 meeting, YUFA Stewards' Council unanimously approved the following three motions:
In order to provide a firmer basis for progress in the current protracted round of negotiations, the YUFA membership calls upon the YUFA Executive to conduct a vote authorizing possible job action as per Article 9.3 of the YUFA Constitution if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached.
Across the University, the Employer to pay all graduate students' off-cycle for summer remediation work no later than September 28, 2018 as has happened in other departments.
Stewards' Council condemns the misuse of the Student Code of Conduct to threaten and discipline students who engage in political activities reflecting the University's values of social justice.
For more information, please email [email protected].
York's Senate has announced it is sponsoring a Community Forum as follows:
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
206 Accolade Building West
The call follows on a request from York University Senators to address, in a meaningful way, how to bring the community together following the end of the labour disruption.
This is an opportunity for members of the York community to speak with the leadership of the University. The Forum will be chaired by the Chair of Senate Franck Van Breugel and Vice-Chair Alison Macpherson, with most members of Senate Executive in attendance. President Rhonda Lenton and Provost Lisa Philipps will be available to answer questions.
All members of the community--faculty, students, and non-academic staff--are encouraged to participate and speak. Glendon members may participate in the meeting via a live video link in A100 Centre of Excellence, Glendon College. Notices have been circulated in yFile and through other means; please distribute widely and encourage peers and colleagues to come.
The Senate Secretariat will prepare a substantial summary of the meeting, which will be reported back to Senate and will be available publicly.
Colleagues, this is an important opportunity to speak about the University we cherish and how we make it a reality. Your participation is important.
From York University ([email protected]):
You are invited to attend a Community Forum on Renewing Institutional Focus sponsored by the Executive Committee of Senate on Thursday, October 4 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in Room 206, Accolade Centre West, Keele Campus, and in a room at Glendon where individuals on that campus will be able to follow and participate in proceedings. Please watch for updated information about the Glendon location.
Senate can play an important role in promoting a positive environment by embracing and extoling the University's mission, upholding York's values, maintaining a steady watch on the attainment of objectives in the University Academic Plan and Strategic Research Plan, encouraging and supporting innovations and excellence, and restoring momentum to significant initiatives including the Markham Centre Campus. Senate Executive commits to playing its part in promoting collegiality.
This forum represents an important opportunity for members of the community--faculty members, students and staff--to share their views on how best to move ahead with our mission and academic planning objectives.
The Committee poses these questions:
- What advice do you have for regaining momentum and moving forward as a community?
- What suggestions do you have for achieving our academic priorities?
The discussion will be moderated, and members of Senate Executive, including President Lenton and Provost Philipps, will be in attendance to hear the advice provided by community members.
No RSVP is required. Although Accolade West 206 has a large capacity, space may be limited.
Some may not be able to attend the forum. Please note that a separate event will be held for staff members at a later date.