CAUT

Let’s support FUNSCAD

The Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) is seeking your help in their efforts to avert a strike.

Bargaining began last September, but after 18 bargaining sessions and two days of conciliation, the administration has offered little to address the issues of major concern to academic staff. Consequently, FUNSCAD members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike should progress in negotiations cease.

In 2016, in order to help NSCAD deal with a difficult fiscal environment, FUNSCAD members agreed to roll over the terms of their previous contract, suspend limits on the reduction of numbers of full-time faculty, and accept wage increases well below cost of living. Today, NSCAD has posted a significant budgetary surplus, student enrollments are up, and faculty have taken on additional duties and workload. Nevertheless, the Board of Governors is continuing to demand four more years of belt-tightening from FUNSCAD members.

There is still time for the Board to act to avert a strike. You can help by taking action now. Visit their website to send a letter to NSCAD’s President and Board of Governors urging them to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.

CAUT critical of Ontario colleges’ free speech policy

(Ottawa – December 17, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is giving a failing grade to a free speech policy developed by Ontario’s colleges without any consultation with faculty.

“The colleges’ so-called free speech statement is a classic example of what you get when you exclude the experts on the matter – the faculty. You get a simplistic and poorly thought-out policy,” says CAUT’s executive director David Robinson.

Robinson says the statement takes an overly punitive approach to campus demonstrations and protests, failing to recognize that the right to free expression is complemented by the rights of freedom of association and assembly.

“Ironically, the statement may have the effect of actually curtailing free expression on campus,” adds Robinson.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford directed universities and colleges in the province to establish free speech policies by January 2019, and threatened to cut funding for institutions that did not comply with the government’s diktat.

CAUT says the Ford government’s heavy-handed approach is a solution in search of a problem.

“The idea that free speech is being squelched on campuses across the province or across the country is grossly exaggerated and masks a thinly veiled political agenda,” says Robinson. “There’s absolutely no need for these policies, but at the very least colleges and universities should ensure that their statements don’t make matters worse. Including all stakeholders in the process of developing these statements is essential to meeting that goal.”

Robinson says the college statement, developed by 12 administrators and just one student, is symptomatic of a deeper problem in Ontario’s college system – the lack of collegial governance.

“The Ford government unilaterally cancelled a task force established to explore ways that colleges could be better governed to allow faculty a role in academic decision-making. To make the right decisions, and to avoid the problems we see with this free speech statement, you need the right people involved,” Robinson adds.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and professional staff in 125 colleges and universities, colleges, and institutes across the country.

CAUT statement on National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women

(Ottawa — 6 December 2018) — Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women — is not only about remembering victims but is also a call to action.

On this day in 1989, 14 women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal were murdered in an act of gender-based violence (GBV) that shocked our nation.

CAUT condemns all forms of violence and marks this day as a reminder that women and girls in Canada, and around the world, continue to face levels of violence that are disproportionate and unacceptable.

In Canada, spousal/family violence consistently remains the most common form of violence against women, with 7 in 10 people experiencing such violence being women and girls. Trans people and lesbian and bisexual women and women with disabilities report even higher rates of intimate partner violence.

The stark reality is that every six days in Canada a woman dies at the hands of her intimate partner.

The first federal strategy to prevent and address GBV was introduced in 2017, in an effort to prevent such violence, and also to support survivors and promote better legal responses. CAUT applauds the government’s strategy and the further injection of funds in Budget 2018 which will target additional problems including teen dating violence and cyberbullying.

While some progress is beginning to be measured against the strategy’s goals, it will take much more effort before significant reductions in GBV are realized.

CAUT calls for continued government investment to stamp out GBV, and reminds individuals and organizations to take strong stands against misogyny and sexism which fuel such hate-filled acts. It is only once a true culture of respect is fostered in homes and workplaces that women and girls will no longer have to face such alarming and needless violence.

Premier Ford urged to respect French-minority rights

(Ottawa — 30 November 2018)  Delegates attending the 85th Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council meeting unanimously adopted a motion condemning the Ontario Conservative government for canceling plans for the Université de l’Ontario français without consulting Franco-Ontarians.

In a letter to Premier Doug Ford, CAUT echoes concerns expressed by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations’ (OCUFA) about plans to cancel the promised French-language University without first consulting Francophone students, parents, and the academic community.

“We ask you and your government to hold, with respect to the linguistic rights of minorities, consultations with all the relevant stakeholders, and most importantly, with the Francophone community of Ontario before making a final decision on the future of a French university in Ontario,” writes CAUT executive director David Robinson.

CAUT is the national voice of 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges across the country.

CAUT condemns back-to-work legislation imposed on postal workers

(OTTAWA – 28 November 2018) Delegates at the 85th Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council meeting unanimously passed a motion condemning the use of back-to-work legislation by the federal government to end the stand-off between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, CAUT executive director David Robinson states that the legislation violates the right to free collective bargaining.

“The government’s interference in this matter means that many of the serious issues in negotiation will be unresolved.”

“The back-to-work legislation disappoints working people across the country and across the sectors who strive to bargain in good faith to address health and safety, equitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and exercise their democratic rights,” added Robinson.

CAUT is the national voice of 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges across the country.

Investigation into Potter case finds McGill violated academic freedom

(Ottawa – November 24, 2018) An investigation into the controversial resignation of Dr. Andrew Potter from the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) has found that not only did the University fail in its duty to protect Professor Potter’s academic freedom, but that its justification for his resignation has undermined the academic freedom of all academic staff at McGill.

The report, prepared for the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), is calling on the University to develop policy to give full protection of academic freedom to academic administrators.

Professor Potter found himself at the centre of controversy in March, 2017 after writing a blog post for Maclean’s Magazine in which he suggested the response to a snow storm in Montreal was reflective of a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society” in Quebec. He later resigned his position as director of the MISC.

“The central academic freedom issue in this case arose from the McGill administration’s claim that academic administrators do not enjoy the same protections as academics without administrative positions,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “It is well understood that universities have as their fundamental commitment the search for knowledge and understanding. This requires an environment free from institutional censorship against any academic.”

The CAUT investigation found no conclusive evidence that the McGill administration put pressure on Professor Potter to resign as Director of MISC, but concluded such pressure would not have been inconsistent with the University’s belief in the conditional academic freedom of academic administrators.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges in Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-222-3530 or keller@caut.ca