YUFA decries York University’s arbitrary, unreasonable, and unjust docking of a racialized member’s pay

Following the Senate Executive Committee’s February 23, 2024, and February 26, 2024, declarations that an academic disruption was imminent and then in force, many YUFA members exercised their right as instructors, pursuant to the Senate Policy on the Academic Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to Labour Disputes or other Causes to protect the academic integrity of their courses by suspending them for the duration of the strike. The Employer took the position that Deans had to approve the rationales provided by colleagues for why the academic integrity of their course was jeopardized such that suspending the course was necessary. YUFA filed two policy grievances in relation to this, found here and here. In a March 22, 2024, communication, the Senate affirmed “that the determination of how best to maintain academic integrity in individual courses resides with their instructors.” YUFA members are understood both in their Collective Agreement and by Senate as having the final say in how their courses are run, protecting the academic merit of their teaching, which is central to their own academic freedom.

The Employer recently suspended without pay for three days one racialized junior faculty member, singling him out for ‘discipline’ for not continuing to teach his course as usual during the strike following the Dean’s rejection of his academic integrity rationale. This shocking decision is being grieved by YUFA.

This preposterous overreach of decanal authority, which is poisoning labour relations at York, has colleagues outraged. The YUFA Executive calls on our members and others who are appalled by this situation to:

1) Send emails to the President and Provost of York University ([email protected]  and [email protected]), calling on them to immediately intervene to cancel and negate this ‘disciplinary’ action and restore the junior professor’s full pay and benefits, wiping all evidence from his tenure and employee files.

2) Send emails to the Dean of LA&PS ([email protected]), calling on him to apologize to the colleague concerned as well as all YUFA members, and to bring disciplinary action against the administrator who perpetrated this terrible incident.

3) Denounce this action against a colleague in all public fora at York University and beyond, whenever “equity” for faculty members of colour, academic freedom, and freedom of speech are being discussed.

4) Speak with other colleagues and work with YUFA’s Race Equity Caucus to explore and publicize the many links between this case and ongoing harassment and discrimination against racialized faculty members at York University, including unequal pay by race, which remains unaddressed in underfunded ‘salary anomaly’ exercises, a dysfunctional race equity complaints process, unfair hiring, tenure, and promotion procedures, and deeply inequitable curricula.

YUFA is sharing detailed information about this case with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), of which YUFA is a member in good standing. We will pursue high-level sanctions and public attention to this situation as long as the Employer fails to make amends.