YUFA guidance on meeting "informally" with your Dean/Principal about complaints

At the April 1st Stewards’ Council meeting, colleagues reported an uptick in irregular processes followed by Dean’s/Principal’s offices when handling complaints from students and/or colleagues. YUFA is seeking clarification from the employer on its understanding of such complaints, as well as its direction to Deans/Principals.

YUFA expects the Dean to follow the principles of due process and refer to the relevant articles of the Collective Agreement when handling complaints involving a YUFA member. Equally, in complaints coming from students, the normal process is for student complaints to be first taken up by a student’s professor. If a concern or complaint cannot be resolved between the student and their professor, the student should then be directed to the coordinator or chair of the program/department. Should a concern or complaint not be resolved at this stage then a student can be directed to the Dean/Principal’s office. This process or sequence should be observed to ensure transparency and fairness for both student and professor.

If you are called into an “informal” meeting with your Dean/Principal regarding an alleged complaint, YUFA advises the following steps be taken before meeting with your Dean/Principal:

1. Review the processes for discipline in the Collective Agreement - Article 16.
2. Ask for the nature and specifics of the complaint in writing.
3. Ask for an agenda for the meeting.
4. Ask that a YUFA member (preferably a Chief Steward) attend.
5. Ask that documentation of the meeting be taken by an arms-length colleague or secretary.

YUFA takes the position that there is nothing “informal” about a meeting with the Dean in this context. Colleagues are entitled to bring any YUFA member to the meeting, although YUFA recommends bringing a YUFA representative (preferably a Chief Steward). Colleagues have the right to full information regarding the complaint and access to the relevant documents in advance of this kind of meeting with the Dean/Principal.

If you have concerns about the disciplinary nature of such a meeting, please contact YUFA for guidance and support.