University of Toronto Faculty Association Letter to Rector Beauvais

Please see the letter sent from UTFA to Chantal Beauvais, Rector at St. Paul University. Scott Prudham, President of UTFA writes,

…I do feel obligated to remind you that academic staff – including librarians – are integral to the teaching and research missions of any university. In order to undertake their professional work in the university, and to further human understanding more broadly, academic staff require academic freedom, including the genuine security that permanent status and tenure provide. Security for academic staff in a university must be upheld and never trivialized in the face of
budgetary concerns no matter how severe those concerns may be. Moreover, in the unlikely event that terminations are the only way to address whatever fiscal problems your institution is encountering, collegial deliberations rather than unilateral decisions are warranted.

Thanks to UTFA for its support in this serious matter.

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OCUFA Supports Reinstatement of Librarian, St. Paul University

Constance Adamson, President of OCUFA and Academic Librarian, sent a letter to Chantal Beauvais, Rector, St. Paul University, on behalf of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

The letter goes further than just the termination of the librarian however and mentions three further firings of staff members and the threat of professor terminations.

Austerity and Ontario’s Universities: Finding a way forward

Austerity and Ontario’s Universities: Finding a way forward
Wednesday March 27, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. LIVE WEBCAST AT: http://tinyurl.com/TOtownhallwebcast  **
____________________________________________________________________________________________

With:

JOHN SHIELDS: Professor, Department of Politics & Public Administration, Ryerson University

FAIZ AHMED: Chair, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903, York University

CAROLYN HIBBS: President, York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA)

SARAH JAYNE KING: Chairperson,  Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario (CFS)

PAUL TSANG: President, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998, University of Toronto

CHARLES REEVE: President, Ontario College of Art and Design Faculty Association (OCADFA)

…and moderator, LUC TREMBLAY: VP of University & External Affairs, University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA)

Event Details:

“Government austerity”— the aggressive program of public sector cutbacks and belt-tightening that governments claim is the only cure for these “tough economic times”– has been frequently cited as the provincial policy responsible for the eroding quality and accessibility of higher education. But the reality is that public funding of higher education has been in decline for some time now, with serious implications for university faculty, students, staff and society in general. It’s an issue that affects all of us in different ways.

This event aims to bring together students, faculty and staff from Toronto’s four universities to discuss the issues, share their insights, and start working together towards solutions.

Discussion topics include:

  • Government austerity, alternatives to austerity, and the government’s disinvestment from funding higher education.
  • The financial situation of universities in Toronto and the impact of university administrations’ spending priorities on the quality and accessibility of higher education, and on staff, students and faculty.
  • The changing mission, role and workings of the university and its impact on the nature and quality of higher education, and its impact on educators, students, and society more generally.
  • The shift in financing of university operations from the government to students, and the immediate and long-term impacts this has on students, their families, and the broader community.

Save the Date: Joel Westheimer on Austerity and CAUT Grievance Handling Workshop

APUO is pleased to announce several events in April.

On April 11th from 1:00 – 2:00, Joel Westheimer will give a talk on the corporatization of education. Joel is a very engaging speaker, and members will benefit from his analysis of the political and social environment of postsecondary education. Joel’s talk is a reprise of a presentation he gave at OCUFA’s Education in an Age of Austerity Conference (January 2013). It was so well received that he’s been asked to give it twice since. Here’s the description:

The corporate university ascendant?

This session will explore how the financial crisis of 2008 and the following emphasis on public austerity may be hastening the evolution of the university into a new, labour market-oriented corporate model. The session will also ask if we are witnessing the decline of the university as a centre of critical thought and human development.

Following Joel’s talk, APUO has invited the Canadian Association of University Teachers to present a Grievance Handling Workshop to all interested APUO, CUASA (Carleton), and APSPU (St. Paul) members. The workshop looks at the employer’s responsibilities in the workplace and how conflicts can be resolved through grievance.

The workshop demystifies the grievance process and underscores that grievances are ways of clarifying workplace issues. This takes the enormous negative baggage out of the grievance process and views it as one way of potentially solving conflict.

The grievance handling workshop begins at 2:30 on April 11th and runs until 4:30. There will be a cocktail hour immediately following the first day of the grievance workshop, which continues on April 12th from 9:00 – 5:00.

Location for all events: DSM 12102.

L’APUO a le plaisir d’annoncer plusieurs évènements prévus pour avril.

Le 11 avril à 13h, Joel Westheimer fera une présentation au sujet de la corporatisation des institutions éducatives. Joel est un présentateur dynamique et les membres apprendront beaucoup de son analyse politique et sociale du système éducatif postsecondaire.

Joel nous offre une reprise de la présentation qu’il a donnée dans le cadre d’une conférence de l’UAPUO (l’Union des Associations des Professeurs des Universités de l’Ontario) « Age of Austerity » qui s’est tenue en janvier dernier. Voici une description du sujet de sa présentation :

The corporate university ascendant?

This session will explore how the financial crisis of 2008 and the following emphasis on public austerity may be hastening the evolution of the university into a new, labour market-oriented corporate model. The session will also ask if we are witnessing the decline of the university as a centre of critical thought and human development.

 À la suite de la présentation du Professeur Westheimer, l’APUO a invité l’ACPPU (l’Association canadienne des Professeurs et Professeures d’Université) à offrir un atelier portant sur les griefs en milieu de travail à tous les membres de l’APUO, de CUASA (Carleton) et de l’APSPU (Université St Paul). L’atelier portera sur les responsabilités de l’employeur en milieu de travail et comment les conflits peuvent être résolus au moyen de grief.

L’atelier fera la lumière sur le processus de grief et mettra l’emphase sur l’utilité des griefs comme moyens pour clarifier les défis qui peuvent survenir dans le milieu de travail. Cette approche élimine le bagage négatif associé au processus de grief et le positionne comme un mécanisme de résolution de conflit.

Cet atelier débutera à 14h 30 le 11 avril et sera d’une durée de deux heures. Les participants seront conviés à un cinq à sept immédiatement après l’atelier qui continuera le 12 avril de 9 h à 17 h.

Tous les évènements auront lieu dans la pièce 12102 DMS.

“Our universities have become factories” (UK Telegraph)

By By Gordon Campbell, Council for the Defence of British Universities

“For many years I have worked at one of the 40 or so universities that describe themselves as a top-20 university. And when I entered the profession, universities – though largely independent of government – were part of the education sector.

We are now, in the eyes of government, nationalised businesses that exist to serve the economy. The Universities Minister now reports to the Business Secretary, not his counterpart in the Department for Education.

In that time, life has changed utterly for academics and students alike. The value of teaching has been downgraded without mercy, because it attracts no differential funding. When I arrived at my university, we taught our undergraduates in groups of two; the numbers have gradually increased, and now we teach them in groups of 13. This is an efficiency gain.”

Read full story.

CAUT analysis of federal budget

Excerpts from various federal budget commentaries of interest to academic librarians listed below. Among the issues is the fate of Library and Archives Canada – which was dealt a $ 9.6 million reduction in funding.

CAUT notes the funding reduction, in among other problematic cuts, with dangerous changes to the support for research funding.

The CAUT analysis concludes:

Budget 2012 is an unneeded and unjustified exercise in austerity. It dramatically downsizes government at a time of rising inequality, a soft labour market, record high household debt and diminishing opportunities for young people and the unemployed. There is nothing in the budget to provide real help to the unemployed, to address pressures in the health care system, to combat poverty and homelessness, or to invest in education and training.

The government’s deliberate inaction on a range of pressing social issues needs to be questioned. Given that the fiscal situation has improved, more could have been done to sustain the recovery and help confront some of the major social and environmental challenges we face. Even a reversal of last year.s corporate tax cut would have freed up nearly $6 billion for health care, seniors, the environment, and education. In fiscal 2011-12 alone, it is estimated that tax cuts introduced by the Conservative government will cost more than $50 billion in foregone revenue. Budget 2012 missed the opportunity to revisit these poor decisions made in recent years.

CLA’s statement was generally positive, with no comment about the budget’s impact on culture and research. CLA’s statement reads in part:

“Yesterday the Federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, presented Budget 2012, entitled “Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity.”

This year’s federal budget outlines a plan to return to a balanced budget in the medium term.  The government remains on track to balance the budget by

2015-2016 and possibly sooner.

Budget 2012 highlights some small, targeted initiatives that will be beneficial to the library community in years to come.  These are highlighted below.

It is also important to note that the budget did not highlight any points related to the Community Access Program (CAP).  CLA will be reaching out to key decision makers to obtain a full status report on CAP, and will report back to CLA members in the short term.

Included are the projected cuts for Library and Archives of Canada and other cultural and arts organizations.  In aggregate  numbers, cuts to Library and Archives of Canada are the smallest; however, CLA will be closely monitoring the overall impact of these spending projections.

CARL continues the boosterism of its parent organization the AUCC- the opening line of its statement is:

“The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) would like to commend the government.s commitment to Canadian research and innovation as demonstrated in Budget 2012…”