York U admin faces mounting criticism as summer term threatened by strike

TORONTO, May 2, 2018 /CNW/ – A growing number of faculty councils and student associations at York University have passed “non-confidence” votes in the senior administration over its handling of a strike by contract faculty and teaching assistants. Now in its ninth week, the strike has reached an impasse because the administration has refused to return to the bargaining table.

Since last week, non-confidence votes have passed at council meetings at Glendon College, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Environmental Studies, the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LAPS), the York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA), and a number of departments and student associations. Almost half of York’s 1,500 full-time faculty teach in LAPS, and YUGSA represents York’s 6,000 graduate students.

“In all my time at York, I have never seen so much public opposition to the administration”

“In all my time at York, I have never seen so much public opposition to the administration,” says Richard Wellen, president of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). “Without a doubt, these votes reflect a growing sense of frustration with York’s approach to labour relations during the current strike.”

These non-confidence votes name York University President Rhonda Lenton and Board of Governors Chair Rick Waugh, and have attracted the attention of faculty and students throughout the post-secondary sector.

At its national council meeting on April 29, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) unanimously passed a motion to condemn “the actions and policies of the York University Board of Governors and Senior Administration in their attempts to broaden the Board’s jurisdiction in ways that undermine and limit the legitimate authority of Senate over the academic affairs of the University.”

CAUT expressed its alarm in a public letter to President Lenton and Chair Waugh.

“Collegial governance is a core value of universities and colleges,” says David Robinson, Executive Director of CAUT. “If our institutions are to fill their public responsibilities for the preservation, transmission, and creation of knowledge, academic bodies must play the decisive role in setting academic policy.”

As the strike approaches its tenth week, the University has yet to clarify whether it will cancel any of the summer semesters or return to the bargaining table.

“We’ve been saying all along that a fair deal could end this strike”

“We’ve been saying all along that a fair deal could end this strike,” says Wellen. “We sincerely hope the admin will soon come to the same conclusion, and negotiate a settlement as soon as possible.”

The York University Faculty Association is the professional association and certified bargaining agent for approximately 1,500 faculty, librarians and archivists, and post-doctoral visitors at York University.

This post originally appeared as a media release on Canada News Wire.