YUFA statement on COVID-19

Dear colleagues,

As you know, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has taken the extraordinary step of suspending all face-to-face-courses.

The protections guaranteed by our Collective Agreement are of paramount importance, particularly in such extraordinary circumstances. YUFA continues to defend those protections and will hold the Employer to its obligation to respect them, as it responds to a rapidly evolving situation.

Not least among these rights is that of Academic Freedom. Our Collective Agreement stipulates that “modes of delivery shall be consistent with the pedagogic and academic judgments and principles of the faculty member” (Article 18.08.3).

Senate, too, has confirmed the rights of our members to conduct lessons as they determine in accord with our commitments to academic integrity.

Please note in this context that “online formats” may encompass a broad range of pedagogical approaches, from simple instructions to students that they submit work via mail to utilizing more expansive interactive formats, such as Moodle.

For clarity, it is up to you, the course director, to decide what kind of “online format” is best for the delivery of your courses in the remaining weeks of the semester.

YUFA will continue to work to ensure that the rights of all our members are respected and that the University lives up to its commitments to provide all requisite assistance.

As you can imagine, we have received numerous queries from members about the current situation. In response, YUFA has created a special page on the YUFA website—see the “COVID-19” tab on the main menu bar—where we will post all COVID-19-related updates, including links to important news from the Employer.

This new page will also include a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) section, which we plan to update frequently. As soon as the FAQ is ready, we will announce it on YUFA-M.

In the meantime, we encourage you to read the latest statement by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), available here, which addresses concerns about health and safety, workload, academic freedom, intellectual property, and accommodations—as they relate to the question of COVID-19 and the Employer’s response to it.

The latest information from York University is available here.

If you have any questions or health concerns related to COVID-19, please see these resources: 

In the interest of our own health and that of all our members, YUFA will be suspending non-essential meetings and conducting more of its business via ZOOM, email, and/or telephone.

YUFA has also taken the preventative measures of closing the YUFA office, as of March 13, 2020, and of allowing YUFA staff members to work from home. While these measures are in place, YUFA staff will continue to represent and support YUFA members and otherwise conduct the normal business of the Association. As always, all telephone and email queries will be handled as expeditiously as possible.

Finally, I would like to thank the membership, especially those of you who have written to YUFA in recent days, for the constructive and helpful ways you have approached this difficult situation. Your questions, concerns, and suggestions are helping YUFA craft its response to recent developments, and reminding us of the collective role we play as an Association in defending the terms and conditions of work of our members and, therefore, the quality of our students’ educations.

For more information, please email yufa@yorku.ca.

Yours in health, 
Art Redding
President, York University Faculty Association