The YUFA Governance Subcommittee draws YUFA members’ attention to the close nexus between university financial decisions and our salaries and working conditions. These decisions, over which we have little control and little information, have huge impacts on teaching load, class size, equity, and research support, all of which are key to the quality of the education we offer to students. The deficit announced by the administration at the April Senate meeting already sets a negative tone for the spring 2024 round of Collective Agreement negotiations. Recent reports by the Ontario Auditor General on Laurentian University and Financial Management at Ontario Universities underscore how excessive capital expenditures undertaken often with little participation by university Senates or faculty, have increased university debt load at the expense of educational mission and undermined financial sustainability.
The Auditor General’s present value for money audit of York University provides an opportunity to understand how financial decisions are made at York University, why large capital projects have been prioritised, and how university governance structures increasingly hinder our ability to participate performatively in decisions with important impacts for our work.
Given the role of the York University Development Corporation (YUDC) in developing and managing expensive capital projects, our first report deals with the YUDC, its governance structure, relationship with the Board of Governors, accountability, and financial reporting. The administration has provided us with the YUDC’s Articles of incorporation but has declined to provide us with the YUDC financial statements. It has also refused our request for information on the university’s hiring of outside consultants, including those hired by the YUDC. The Governance Subcommittee is now working with the Joint Financial Information Committee in an effort to access for YUFA members to this important financial data.
The Report on the YUDC can be viewed here and is available on the Subcommittee’s webpage on the YUFA website.
YUFA Governance Committee
Arthur Hilliker (ex officio)
Susan Ingram (ex officio)
Agnes Whitfield (Chair)