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Issues, events, & breaking news from ICES & Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
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Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11, 2014–James L. Turk is retiring from his post as executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the national union representing almost all of Canada’s faculty and academic staff members, on June 30. In an interview with Karen Birchard, a Canadian correspondent for The Chronicle, he looked back on his 16 years at the helm of the organization. What follows is an edited version of their conversation.
Q. Why are you retiring now?
A. I feel very strongly that organizations need new blood and new leadership. I probably pushed the envelope by staying 16 years. I love what I’m doing and look forward to it every morning, but it’s good for the organization to have someone else do the job.
Q. Did you achieve what you wanted to at CAUT?
A. The organization has grown and moved forward. But there’s always so much more that can be done.
Q. Like what?
A. A lot of union members treat membership like their insurance company—”We pay our dues, and if there’s trouble, there’s the union to support us.” But the reality is, our biggest obligation is to defend and protect those things that are the core of what makes good university and college education possible. There are powerful forces trying to change those things, and we have to engage our members more actively in that struggle.
Q. What issue stands out?
A. One of our biggest problems, like in the United States, has been the casualization of the profession. This means a significant proportion of the people teaching at our universities are exploited, are paid a miserable amount of money, don’t have basic rights to be paid to do scholarly work or to do service, and are often excluded from participation in development of curriculum. We’ve made huge progress in unionizing them and creating the possibility for advances, but a large part of that work is undone.
Q. What’s the future for unionism for academic faculty and staff members in Canada and the United States?
A. In Canada, university and college teachers have the highest degree of unionization of any employee group in the country, and that has been vital in protecting the integrity of our universities and colleges, as well as academic freedom and the quality of education.
The situation is dramatically different in the United States, where the majority of universities don’t even have faculty unions. More than a third of the states have laws that effectively undermine unionization, so faculty in the United States don’t have the tools available to us in Canada.
Q. Is academic freedom in Canada stronger or weaker than when you started?
A. I would say stronger, in part because now almost everybody is unionized. We have such a strong expectation of academic freedom in Canada that any university administration that violates it becomes a pariah.
Q. What are you going to do next?
A. I’ve been offered a position as a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University, in Toronto. I’m going to be working toward creating a center for the promotion of freedom of expression. I will also be doing some work with CAUT and with some individual faculty associations and a fair amount of media work around higher education.
Read More: Chronicle of Higher Ed
This morning on the Global BC Morning News Show, Sophie Lui and Steve Darling interviewed a variety of people on key issues related to education in British Columbia, in the context of the current labour dispute between the teachers and the BC government.
Topic: Cost of education to both parents and teachers (for example, money spent on supplies, possibility of corporate sponsorships as possible solution to alleviate the funding problem?)
Guest 1: Lisa Cable (Parents for B.C. Founder)
Guest 2: Harman Pandher (Burnaby School Board Trustee, Surrey teacher & parent)
Peter Fassbender, BC Minister of Education
Jim Iker, President of British Columbia Teachers Federation
Topic: Class size & composition
Guest 1: E. Wayne Ross (UBC Professor, Faculty of Education)
Guest 2: Nick Milum (Vancouver School Board Student Trustee)
Topic: Future of education, fixing the system & avoiding future strikes?)
Guest 1: Charles Ungerleider (UBC Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education)
Guest 2: Dan Laitsch (SFU Associate Professor, Faculty of Education)
Your browser does not support frames. Click here to view the frameless video..
Class size and composition are key issues in the current labour dispute between the British Columbia Teachers Federation and the BC government.
In 2002, the ruling BC Liberals unilaterally stripped away provisions in the teachers’ contract that governed the makeup and number of students in each class. The teachers sued the government over their actions, twice. And the teachers won both times. The government is currently appealing their loss and refuses to follow the courts order that class size and composition conditions be restored.
The teachers and the government’s negotiators have been at the table for many months, with little or no progress. Last week the BCTF started rotating, district by district one-day strikes around the province. The government responded by cutting teachers pay by 10% and, in a bizarre and confusing move, locking teachers out for 45 minutes before and after school and during lunch and recess.
Amongst other things, the BC Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, has been misrepresenting the implications of research on class size. See my previous blog about that, which led to an interview with CBC Radio’s Daybreak North program that was broadcast this morning. You can listen to 5 minute interview here and here:
U. of Oregon’s New Academic-Freedom Policy Protects Students and Staff
The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 29, 2014
The University of Oregon has adopted an academic-freedom policy that provides broad protections not just to faculty members, but to all of its employees, and also its students.
Michael R. Gottfredson, the university’s president, signed the measure on Wednesday, following its unanimous passage last month by the faculty senate.
The policy has been heralded as among the nation’s strongest by the institution’s fledgling faculty union, United Academics of the University of Oregon, which is affiliated with both the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers.
The policy applies broadly to “members of the university community,” including those employed as administrators and staff members. It covers speech connected to research, teaching, public service, and shared governance, offering university employees explicit assurances that they cannot be fired for speech related to campus policies.
“Members of the university community have freedom to address, question, or criticize any matter of institutional policy or practice, whether acting as individuals or as members of an agency of institutional governance,” the policy says.
It adds: “The academic freedoms enumerated in this policy shall be exercised without fear of institutional reprisal. Only serious abuses of this policy—ones that rise to the level of professional misbehavior or professional incompetence—should lead to adverse consequences.”
In remarks delivered to the faculty senate on Wednesday, President Gottfredson said he had favored such provisions to ensure that academic freedom there could not be narrowed by the federal courts in the wake of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision denying First Amendment protections to the speech of most or all public employees.
That ruling, in Garcetti v. Ceballos, held that public agencies may discipline their employees for statements made in connection with their jobs, but put off the question of whether it applied to “speech related to scholarship or teaching.” Lower federal courts have split over whether faculty members at public colleges are covered by Garcetti or have broader speech protections than those afforded other public employees.
Several other public higher-education institutions, including the Universities of California, Michigan, and Washington, have adopted policies enshrining the academic freedom of faculty members in response to Garcetti, but have not sought to similarly protect the speech of other employees or students.
The University of Oregon’s policy is the product of some heated debate between the faculty and the administration, which last year initially resisted United Academics’ calls for contract language protecting the right of faculty members to criticize the university’s policies and actions. United Academics eventually persuaded the administration to drop that demand and others, such as a call for contract language requiring civility in workplace interactions, that union leaders saw as threatening academic freedom.
Academic #mobbing and #bullying: Special Issue of #Workplace #ubc #edstudies #criticaled #caut #aaup #bced
Preprints for the next Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor have just been released. Timed quite ideally with many Universities’ recent initiatives, this Special Issue of Workplace is on Academic Mobbing and Bullying.Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor Academic Mobbing and Bullying
No 24 (2014)
- Of Sticks and Stones, Words that Wound, and Actions Speaking Louder: When Academic Bullying Becomes Everyday Oppression
- Harry Denny
- Beyond Bullies and Victims: Using Case Story Analysis and Freirean Insight to Address Academic Mobbing
- Julie Gorlewski, David Gorlewski & Brad Porfilio
- Graduate Students as Proxy Mobbing Targets: Insights from Three Mexican Universities
- Florencia Peña Saint Martin, Brian Martin, Hilde Eliazer Aquino López & Lillian von der Walde Moheno
- Bullying in Academia Up Close and Personal: My Story
- Paul Johnson
- Pathogenic Versus Healthy Biofilms: A Metaphor for Academic Mobbing
- Antonio Pedro Fonseca
Thank you for the continuing interest in ICES and its blogs & journals,
Sandra Mathison, Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross, co-Directors
University of British Columbia
2125 Main Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4
[Recent events at Capilano University and University of Saskatchewan have raised serious concerns about the health of the academic culture of post-secondary institutions in Canada. Crawford Kilian, who taught at Capilano College from its founding in 1968 until it became a university in 2008, wrote the following analysis of Canadian academic culture for The Tyee, where he is a contributing editor. The Institute for Critical Education Studies at UBC is pleased to reprint the article here, with the author's permission.]
Dark Days for Our Universities
Dr. Buckingham’s censure only confirms the long, tragic decline of Canadian academic culture
(Originally published in TheTyee.ca, May 19, 2014)
On May 13 I attended a meeting of the Board of Governors of Capilano University, which has had a very bad year.
Last spring the board agreed to cut several programs altogether. This caused considerable anger and bitterness, especially since the recommendations for the cuts had been made by a handful of administrators without consulting the university senate.
Recently, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the board’s failure to consult with the senate was a breach of the University Act. This upset the board members, who may yet appeal the decision.
Adding to the angst was the disappearance of a satirical sculpture of Cap’s president, Kris Bulcroft, which had been created and displayed on campus by George Rammell, an instructor in the now-dead studio arts program. Thanks to media coverage, the sculpture has now been seen across the country, and by far more people.
Board Chair Jane Shackell (who was my student back in 1979) stated at the meeting that she had personally ordered the removal of the sculpture because it was a form of harassment of a university employee, the president. Rather than follow the university’s policy on harassment complaints (and Bulcroft had apparently not complained), Shackell seemed to see herself as a one-person HR committee concerned with the president alone.
At the end of the meeting another retired instructor made an angry protest about the board’s actions. Like the judge in a Hollywood court drama, my former student tried to gavel him down.
I didn’t feel angry at her; I felt pity. It was painfully clear that she and her board and administration are running on fumes.
The mounting crisis
I look at this incident not as a unique outrage, but as just another example of the intellectual and moral crisis gripping Canadian post-secondary education. The old scientific principle of mediocrity applies here: very few things are unique. If it’s happening in North Vancouver, it’s probably happening everywhere.
And it certainly seems to be. On the strength of one short video clip, Tom Flanagan last year became an unperson to the University of Calgary, where he’d taught honourably for decades. He was already scheduled to retire, but the president issued a news release that made it look as if he was getting the bum’s rush.
More recently, Dr. Robert Buckingham publicly criticized a restructuring plan at the University of Saskatchewan, where he was dean of the School of Public Health.
In a 30-second interview with the university provost, he was fired and escorted off campus.
A day later the university president admitted firing him had been a “blunder” and offered to reinstate him as a tenured professor, but not as a dean. It remains to be seen whether he’ll accept.
The problem runs deeper than the occasional noisy prof or thin-skinned administrator. It’s systemic, developed over decades. As the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives noted last November, the University of Manitoba faculty very nearly went on strike until the president’s office agreed to a collective agreement ensuring professors’ right to speak freely, even if it meant criticizing the university.
Universities ‘open for business’
At about the same time, the Canadian Association of University Teachers published a report, Open for Business. CAUT warned about corporate and government deals with universities that would ditch basic research for more immediately convenient purposes.
“Unfortunately,” the report said, “attempts by industry and government to direct scholarly inquiry and teaching have multiplied in the past two decades…. For industry, there is a diminished willingness to undertake fundamental research at its own expense and in its own labs — preferring to tap the talent within the university at a fraction of the cost.
“For politicians, there is a desire to please industry, an often inadequate understanding of how knowledge is advanced, and a short time horizon (the next election). The result is a propensity to direct universities ‘to get on with’ producing the knowledge that benefits industry and therefore, ostensibly, the economy.”
This is not a sudden development. The expansion of North America’s post-secondary system began soon after the Second World War and really got going after Sputnik, when the Soviets seemed to be producing more and better graduates than the West was. That expansion helped to fuel decades of economic growth (and helped put the Soviets in history’s ashcan).
Throughout that period, academic freedom was in constant peril. In the Cold War, U. S. professors were expected to sign loyalty oaths. In 1969-70 Simon Fraser University went through a political upheaval in which eight faculty members were dismissed and SFU’s first president resigned.
A Faustian bargain
What is different now is that Canadian post-secondary must depend more and more on less and less government support. Postwar expansion has become a Faustian bargain for administrators: to create and maintain their bureaucracies and programs, post-secondary schools must do as they’re paid to do. If public money dwindles, it must be found in higher student fees, in corporate funding, in recruiting foreign kids desperate for a Canadian degree.
So it’s no surprise that Dr. Buckingham was sacked for criticizing a budget-cutting plan to rescue an ailing School of Medicine by putting it into Buckingham’s thriving School of Public Health.
And it’s no surprise that Capilano University had shortfalls right from its announcement in 2008. It had to become a university to attract more foreign students than it could as a mere college, but at the last minute the Gordon Campbell Liberals reneged on their promise to give it university-level funding.
For six years, then, Cap’s board and administration have known they were running on fumes. They are in the same predicament as B.C. school boards, who must do the government’s dirty work and take the blame for program and teacher cuts.
In 40 years of teaching at Cap, I rarely attended board meetings, and never did a board member visit my classes. I don’t know the members of this current board, apart from a couple of faculty representatives, but I’ve served as a North Vancouver school trustee. As an education journalist I’ve talked to a lot of university and college administrators, not to mention school trustees. I know how they think.
Managing the decline
For any school or university board, underfunding creates a terrible predicament: protest too loudly and you’ll be replaced by a provincial hireling who’ll cut without regard for the school’s long-term survival. If you have any love for the institution, you can only try to do damage control. But when your teachers or professors protest, as they have every right to, that annoys and embarrasses the government. It will punish you for not imposing the “silence of the deans” on them.
University presidents and senior administrators make six-figure salaries and enjoy high prestige. They are supposed to be both scholars and managers. Their boards are supposed to be notable achievers as well, though their achievements have often been in the service of the governing party. Their education has served them well, and now they can serve education.
But a Darwinian selection process has made them servants of politics instead, detached from the true principles of education. When they realize that their job is not to serve education but to make the government look good, they panic. Everything they learned in school about critical thinking and reasoned argument vanishes.
In reward for previous achievements and political support, the B.C. government appointed Cap’s board members to run the school without giving them the money to run it well, or even adequately. And whatever their previous achievements, they have lacked the imagination and creativity — the education — to do anything but make matters worse. Faced with an angry faculty and a humiliating court judgment, they have drawn ridicule upon themselves and the university.
They can’t extricate themselves and they have no arguments left to offer — only the frantic banging of a gavel that can’t drown out the voice of an angry retired prof exercising his right to speak freely. [Tyee]
#CapilanoUniversity faculty want answers: Day 13 of art censorship #bced #bcpoli #caut #GeorgeRammell
George Rammell, Day 13, May 20, 2014– Day 13 of the art seizure of Blathering On in Krisendom at Capilano University and I want answers. What does the vice-president Cindy Turner mean when she says my piece has been dismantled? Cindy, you were responsible for the destruction of our protest banners last Spring, (as if we were not allowed to voice our concerns about Bulcroft’s illegal cuts),we never received an apology or compensation. Is this a repeat of last year?
It’s becoming apparent that the Board at Capilano University is now realizing they do not have the authority to seize or damage my art. Why have the RCMP been told this is just an internal matter, as if I’m guilty of insubordination. This is theft and I’ve lost valuable Professional Development studio time, I have every right to complete that work in the Studio Art studios. I have other exhibition plans for that work.
The wrongful firing of a single professor at the University of Sask. is pale compared to the illegal gutting of entire programs at Cap. that cannot be restored in this economic climate.
There are a few dedicated faculty on the Capilano U Board who are attempting to save our institution, but they can only do so much when the rest are asleep at the wheel.
Is Bulcroft going to waste more of Cap’s dwindling financial resources to appeal the BC Supreme Courts ruling that she violated the University Act by planning cuts without due process? Shall we buy her a ticket to Blaine?
CBC News, May 20, 2014–Turmoil at the University of Saskatchewan is intensifying with the sudden resignation of the provost and academic vice-president Brett Fairbairn.
Word of Fairbairn’s resignation came half an hour before an emergency board of governors meeting, which started at 8 p.m. CST Monday.
In a written statement, Fairbairn said stepping down was “the best contribution I can now offer [the university] under present circumstances”.
Fairbairn is the official who wrote last Wednesday to Robert Buckingham, the head of the School of Public Health, firing him as both the school’s executive director and tenured professor, and ordering him off campus.Demands for more departures
The move touched off an uproar over threats to academic freedom. The firing came after Buckingham openly voiced concerns about the impact on his school of the cost-cutting plan TransformUS.
Buckingham subsequently had his tenure restored, but not his administrative job.
Fairbairn’s resignation touched off a flurry of tweets, with some calling for more departures.
“That’s one down”, said one tweet. “President next?” said another.
‘A deepening controversy, if not crisis’- Minister of Advanced Education, Rob Norris
The province’s minister of advanced education, Rob Norris, spoke at the closed-door board meeting.
He emerged after about an hour, and spoke to the media before leaving for his constituency office.
Norris said he spoke to the board about his continuing concerns “regarding compliance with the University of Saskatchewan Act, and also what I see and what we see as a deepening controversy — if not crisis — regarding the national reputation and international reputation of the University of Saskatchewan.
“That reputational damage that continues is of very deep concern to us,” Norris added.
One section of the act requires senior administration to report to the board before the dismissal of suspension of individuals, “so there are real questions about the substance of that kind of report process, especially given, and in light of the reversal that took place, and some of the commentary around that reversal,” Norris explained.
He left it to the board to consider whether it had breached the act or not.No violations, board chair says
Around midnight, board chair Susan Milburn emerged, and told reporters both the board and the administration have complied with the legislation.
Just before Milburn came out to speak, she released a written statement saying: “Tonight, we discussed the leadership of the university in depth. We do not want to act in haste and therefore we have not made any final decisions, other than to maintain our strong commitment to financial sustainability and renewal. We will conclude our due diligence before a decision is rendered on university leadership.”
Asked if the board is looking for any other resignations or dismissals, Milburn said, “We don’t want to make any hasty decisions.”
She confirmed the board has received outside legal advice, and that it will discuss the matter further when it meets again next Monday and Tuesday.Faculty association condemns ‘veto’
One item not discussed Monday night was the demand by the faculty association to rescind a board decision giving the university president a “veto” on tenure decisions.
Faculty association chair Doug Chivers says that violates their collective agreement, which states it’s up to the board of governors to approve recommendations on tenure.
And, he said, that view has been upheld in a judicial review.
Milburn said the association’s demand was not on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting.
When asked about the faculty’s concern, Norris called it a ‘very serious allegation,’ and said his department is looking into it.
Read More: CBC News
“What [recent cases] share is an unbelievable authoritarianism on the part of the upper administration, a willingness to trample on academic freedom and the absolute intolerance of resistance or disagreement about program cuts and restructuring.”
Sandra Mathison, May 14, 2014– I’ll admit to a quaint hope that universities are still places where dialogue and dissent are both possible and desirable, but two incidents in the last week leave me scratching my head. The first is the theft of professor George Rammell’s sculpture by the Capilano University administration, and the second is the firing of Robert Buckingham, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. The issues in the two cases are not the same, but what both share is an unbelievable authoritarianism on the part of the upper administration, a willingness to trample on academic freedom and the absolute intolerance of resistance or disagreement about program cuts and restructuring. The point is not whether each of these universities plans for budget cutting and trimming are appropriate (that would be a different post), but the response to faculty and middle management who DARE to disagree with the upper administration. If this doesn’t have a chilling effect on everyone in Canadian higher education, well we are all being just too polite.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING SCULPTURE
At Capilano University there have been severe program cuts. One program area in which cuts are deep is the arts. George Rammell, sculpture instructor, used his scholarly form of expression to comment on those cuts ~ he created Blathering on in Krisendom, a work in progress depicting Capilano University president Kris Bulcroft wrapped in a U.S. flag with a poodle. The sculpture went missing last week:
“I immediately called security and the guard told me that orders were given by the top level of the Administration to seize it. I could hardly believe my ears. The Administration had ordered my piece removed off campus to an undisclosed location, without any consultation or prior discussion. I was shocked and not sure if this was Canada,” Rammell stated (as reported in the Georgia Straight).
Jane Shackell, chair of the Board of Governors, released a statement saying that Capilano was “committed to the open and vigorous discourse that is essential in an academic community.” But she had the sculpture removed because it was “workplace harassment of an individual employee, intended to belittle and humiliate the president.” A post for another time, but this might well be the most egregious, inappropriate use of respectful workplace rhetoric to create a workplace where dialogue, dissent, and discourse are not allowed.
Of course, Rammell’s work is easy for the University to steal, but the parallel for some of us might be an administration that comes to your office and wipes all of the files for that critical analysis of higher education book you are working on from your computer. After being AWOL for a week, Capilano University has agreed to return Rammell’s work, but has banned the sculpture from campus and Rammell calls that censorship. It is and it isn’t harassment either. So much for academic freedom.
THE SILENCE OF THE DEANS
Then comes the news, Robert Buckingham, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan was fired, relieved of his professorial appointment and tenure, and escorted of the campus ~ for disagreeing publicly with the administration’s restructuring and budget cutting plan, TransformUS.
In discussions of TransformUS, middle managers were ordered to get in line and on board with the plan, and threatened if they spoke publicly against it.
Here’s the email from the provost:
That a University would want deans who are lackeys and submissive to the upper administration’s “messaging” says a great deal about that administration. Unlike the CapU incident, this is less about academic freedom and all about the importance of maintaining an openness to dialogue and disagreement within the University. Such a heavy handed administrative approach assaults our sensibilities about how even the modern, corporatized U operates. On top of all that, the termination of Buckingham comes a mere five weeks from his retirement and is amazingly mean-spirited.
CAUT director, Jim Turk said:
What the president of the University of Saskatchewan has done is an embarrassment to the traditions and history of the University of Saskatchewan and it’s an embarrassment to post-secondary education across Canada. It’s inexcusable.
He’s right about that!
#UVIC and today #SFU faculty & librarians vote to form union from association #UBC is next #caut #cufabc #bced #bcpoli
The 83% vote by UVIC faculty members and librarians and near 75% vote by SFU’s to form a union out of existing faculty associations is extremely good news for academic labour in British Columbia. The difference between faculty association and union in BC is this:
The basic legal difference is that our current status is a grant of the University itself, which has agreed to bargain certain matters with faculty and librarians; certification means that those rights are granted by the Labour Board and recognized in law. Rather than a bargaining relationship in which SFU agrees to allow us to negotiate certain items, our bargaining relationship would be protected by law, and would extend to any employment matter that we would choose to negotiate.
Please UBC faculty association Executive, bring this vote for a strike clause to the membership to act as a union with full rights. The last five rounds of bargaining have been so tremendously frustrating for the membership and ground hard won is quickly eroding. Wages, piecemeal for many, of our PT members are as pitiful as they get– well below minimum wages once hours in are factored.
* * * * *
SFU Faculty Association, May 15, 2014
SFU Faculty and Librarians Approve Certification as a Union
Members of the Faculty Association of Simon Fraser University have voted to become a certified union under the BC Labour Relations Code.
The results of the certification vote are as follows (the results are unofficial until confirmed by the Labour Relations Board):
Eligible voters: 1091
Votes cast: 800
Percentage turnout: 73%
The question voted upon was: “Do you want the Faculty Association of Simon Fraser University (SFUFA) to be recognized as a certified union, under the Labour Relations Code, to represent you in collective bargaining with your employer, the University?”
Total ballots: 800
Spoiled ballots: 0
Valid ballots: 800
In favour: 590
As a result of the vote, the Administration and Faculty Association must now begin negotiation of the first collective agreement.
The University Administration and Faculty Association respect the choice made by faculty members and librarians regarding their preferred form of representation. Both the Administration and the Association are committed to maintaining the positive working relationship we have enjoyed.
Vice-President, Academic, Simon Fraser University
President, Faculty Association of SFU
* * * * *
UVIC Faculty Association, January 24, 2014
On January 24, 2014 the results of the certification vote for faculty and librarians at the University of Victoria were announced. The results are as follows:
- Eligible voters: 860
- Votes cast: 711
- Percentage turnout: 82.67 per cent
The question voted upon was: “Do you want the University of Victoria Faculty Association to become a certified union that will represent you in collective bargaining with your employer?”
- Total ballots: 711
- Spoiled ballots: 0
- Valid ballots: 711
- In favour: 448
- Opposed: 263
The next step in the certification process is the issuance of a formal certification order by the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia. The Faculty Association and the University Administration are then required to commence collective bargaining in good faith with the objective of achieving a collective agreement that will replace the current Framework Agreement between the parties.
You do not have to tolerate caricature, criticism, critique, irony, parody. When you make $230k+ as a University President, when you have the power to run an academic institution, when you have a Respectful Learning and Working Environment Statement and critiquette shoring up this power, there are many things you do not have to tolerate.
You do not have to tolerate criticism or critique. You don’t have to tolerate parody narrative or music. No edgy ironic video. No mockumentaries. No way do you have to tolerate political puppetry or theatre, especially in a tradition of Bread and Puppet Theater. And you surely do not have to tolerate critical sculpture. If in your interest and honour, then yes by all means let them sculpt, chisel mountains.
Let them name suspension bridges and valleys after you. Anything less than honorific, you do not have to tolerate.
You do not have to put up with puns. You definitely do not under any circumstance have to tolerate sarcasm in blogs. No frowny faces in tweets of 30 characters. You need not tolerate caricatures. Oh, and absolutely no low poetry. So at your University in Canada, none of this. No limerick day on 12 May, and none like this one:
There once was a president from Capilano
who cut programs and furloughed faculty mano a mano
But when the statue would tease her
she blathered ‘thumbs down’ ’cause ‘I’m caesar!’
Then said next ‘I will ban the piano.’
Just say no Capilano, No. Faculty and students you cannot write, perform, think or say this. When you are a University President you do not have to tolerate this. When you are the head chef in the big kitchen you do not have to take the heat.
Read More: Capilano University censors sculpture of president with poodle and view the puppet performance.
Capilano U seizes instructor’s sculpture of president with poodle #bced #bcpoli #edstudies #censored
But it’s gone, and its creator, George Rammell, a CapU instructor of sculpture, wants the piece returned.
“It’s ridiculous!” Rammell told the Straight by phone today (May 12) about the seizure of his work from the university grounds.
“I mean, we live in Canada for God’s sakes,” Rammell continued. “We’re not living in China or Iran.”
In a news release, Rammell said that he discovered the unfinished sculpture titled Blathering on in Krisendom gone from CapU’s sculpture area last Wednesday (May 7).
“I immediately called security and the guard told me that orders were given by the top level of the Administration to seize it. I could hardly believe my ears. The Administration had ordered my piece removed off campus to an undisclosed location, without any consultation or prior discussion. I was shocked and not sure if this was Canada,” Rammell stated in the release.
He continued: “I called the RCMP to report the theft. The officer arrived and he said he had been talking to Administration: they had asked him if they would be liable if they destroyed the sculpture. They were making assumptions (with the aid of their lawyer), believing they owned the work because it was made on university property. They are concerned that if returned to me I’d continue to exhibit it.
“Last May President Bulcroft held a public forum where she asked everyone to forgive her violations of process and follow her into the future. She denounced my effigy as sexist, misogynist bullying. But several faculty members who teach Woman’s Studies didn’t see anything sexist about the piece whatsoever. In fact they chastised the President’s attempts to gain sympathy in such a manner.
“I started the project at the request of a faculty member and I had the financial support of my Faculty Association.
“I recently showed Blathering on in Krisendom at the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, and in a solo show in the Studio Art Gallery at Cap U, but I don’t consider the piece finished. As with much of my work it’s continuing to evolve. I now want my sculpture returned immediately so I can continue sculpting it. I have other exhibition intentions for this on-going project. I see the Administration’s illegal seizure as part of their ongoing assumption that they can ignore the basic rights of employees and ignore their responsibilities to consult. The BC Supreme Court ruled in favor of our faculty’s position that the university violated the University Act in making unilateral cuts to Programs. These art Programs carry a legacy across the country and will be impossible to replace.”
On the phone, Rammell explained that Bulcroft was brought in from the U.S. to head CapU, hence the American flag in the sculpture. He added that some of Bulcroft’s promotional materials show her with a poodle.
Brita Harrison Brooke, manager of stakeholder relations for CapU, didn’t have an immediate comment. Brooke wrote the Straight to say that the university’s vice president for finance and administration, Cindy Turner, will be speaking to Rammell.
Convicted felon and former U Louisville ed school dean Robert Felner to be released from federal prison today
Felner was sentenced to 63 months in prison for his role in defrauding the U of L and the University of Rhode Island of $2.3 million of US Department of Education funds earmarked for No Child Left Behind Act research.
The U of L reported suspected fraud to federal officials and, in June 2008, on Felner’s last day of work at U of L, federal officers conducted simultaneous raids on the U of L College of Education and Human Development and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where Felner had accepted the presidency and was in the process of moving. The investigation involved the US Secret Service, US Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
In January 2010, Felner pleaded guilty to nine Federal charges, including income tax evasion.
For a refresher course on the felonious Felner see PageOneKentucky.com’ summary of events. For a full course of Felner on PageOneKentucky click here. (Shout out to Jake at PageOneKentucky for excellent investigative reporting on Felner and the U of L.)
For Workplace Blog coverage of Felner click here.
Here is a Louisville Courier-Journal profile of Felner: Robert Felner profile: Arrogant, outrageous, abusive and duplicitous.
A couple of footnotes to the Felner Story:
(1) Los Angeles school superintendent, John Deasy, has had his academic credentials called into question. Deasy was given a PhD by the University of Louisville after he was enrolled for four months and received a total of nine credits. Deasy’s doctoral advisor was Robert Felner. Deasy had previously awarded $375,000 in consulting contracts to Felner, while Deasy was Superintendent of Santa Monica schools.
(2) U of L has been making double retirement payouts to administrators for their silence.
Records show that the school paid a full year’s salary to outgoing vice presidents Michael Curtin ($252,350) and Larry Owsley ($248,255) and to assistant to the president Vivian Hibbs ($66,391) to induce them not to “disparage, demean or impugn the university or its senior leadership.”
And last month U of L made a $346,000.00 settlement with Angela Kosawha:
The University of Louisville is paying another large settlement in connection with the retirement of a high-ranking official — this time, $346,844 to its top lawyer. University counsel Angela Koshewa is on a three-month leave of absence before she officially retires June 1. Documents obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act show the university is paying Koshewa — who has questioned some expenditures and proposals backed by President James Ramsey and Dr. David Dunn, the executive vice president for Health Affairs — twice her final salary.
Current U of L President James Ramsey and Provost Shirley Willihnganz are the same campus officials who hired Robert Felner, and defended him when he was initially charged with defrauding the university.
Emily Jackson, Metro, May 5, 2014– Teachers will lose their jobs due to a funding shortage for Vancouver Community College’s ESL program, the faculty union announced Wednesday.
Even though the program has waiting lists and full classes, VCC’s faculty association fears 15 to 25 jobs will be lost by the end of March due to federal government changes to ESL training, chief steward Frank Cosco said.
“People are tremendously worried and concerned,” Cosco said, noting there are about 120 full-time ESL teachers at VCC. “A year from now, we might be talking about the end of the whole program completely.”
Instead of training new immigrants to speak English at colleges, the government will directly administer programs through community services.
The province has already provided one-time funding of $4.67 million so VCC can keep running ESL classes past April 1, but the faculty association believes it should fill the funding gap to maintain the busy program. It needs about $3.3 million extra.
VCC confirmed in an emailed statement it has offered faculty buyouts in light of the changes, but doesn’t know what the full impact will be.
“We have begun consulting with our unions to explore options that will minimize the impact to our faculty, staff, and students.”
VCC also hopes the province will fork over more cash.
“We understand that the Ministry continues to pursue other sources of one-time funding to support the transition of ESL services and they hope to report more information soon.”
But in an emailed statement Wednesday, Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk did not indicate the province would offer more than the one-time $10.5 million it gave to colleges across B.C. in February.
“Our focus remains on the students, and like those students, the post-secondary institutions, and their faculties and staff, we are still waiting to hear from the federal government how it plans to go forward,” Virk said.
Top story of 2013-14 at #ubc? Failure of accountability for Sauder rape cheer #bced #ubcsauderschool #mba #yteubc
The Ubyssey, April 13, 2014– Starting the year off with a bang, The Ubyssey broke the story that first-years participating in the Commerce Undergraduate Society’s FROSH orientation had been led in a cheer making light of rape. The news shook campus.
As national media jumped on the story, the university scrambled to respond, eventually convening a panel to make recommendations on how to prevent such things from happening in the future.
The Sauder School of Business and its dean Robert Helsley came out of the mess looking less than fantastic. Students said the cheer had been taking place for many years, and there were rumours that Helsley’s predecessor may have been aware of inappropriate events at CUS FROSH.
After Sauder students failed to pass a referendum approving hundreds of thousands of dollars to be put toward the vague goal of mitigating an alleged culture of sexual violence in the faculty, the university was forced to foot the rest of the bill.
The university panel chaired by VP Students Louise Cowin — which, due to pressure from First Nations groups and the media came to include aboriginal issues after a handful of students at FROSH sang a chant related to Pocahontas— came out with recommendations that have mostly yet to be implemented. Read More: The Ubyssey
A is for we like Accountability!
D is for it will be Deferred!
M is for the Money that runs the show!
I is always for I point the other way when the heat is on!
All together now!
UBC President Stephen Toope and Sauder School of Business dean Robert Helsley, how accountable is it to let two student executives of the Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) take the fall for the Sauder rape cheer?
At Saint Mary’s University, where a similar cheer took place, Student Union president Jared Perry said, “I tender my resignation.”
At UBC, Enzo Woo and Gillian Ong, president and VP engagement of the CUS respectively, resigned.
All together now: A.D.M.I.N.!
A is for we like Accountability!
D is for it will be Deferred!
A month and a rushed fact-finding report later, the administration at UBC remains entrenched solely in damage control. Curiously, the words “administration” and “administrator” do not appear in the fact-finding report ["student/s" appears 46 times].
Protect the brand! Especially now. Especially for commerce. No resignations, no accountability.
In the fact-finding report, curiously, the words “administration” and “administrator” do not appear while “student/s” appears 46 times. There were no facts to find on administrators or administration?
If it is plausible that of the 11 Assistant and Associate Deans + Dean Helsley, none have responsibilities for “students” in their portfolio, then the President’s Office has failed. That’s a fact of administrative bloat: Between 1999 and 2013, this Faculty’s administrators at that level more than doubled. Yes, Sauder has Dean Muzyka to thank. And increasing tuition and fees have that to factor in. Yet none of these 12 now have any responsibilities for students? I don’t buy that. So is the buck or loonie passed back to the Sauder Dean’s Office?
Similarly, someone or something is failing at the top if of the 12 senior administrators none have curriculum in their portfolio. I find it incomprehensible that it has taken this cheer, a fact-finding report, campus outrage, and nearly 2014 for Sauder to finally get around to, announced on 1 November by Dean Helsley, “Implementing changes in the curriculum to enhance themes of social justice, ethics, gender and cultural sensitivity, and their role in corporate social responsibility and the creation of a civil society”?
A top business school finally getting around to this? In this economy and world? There are 12 senior administrators and none have curriculum and courses in their portfolio? What exactly are they doing? Not all can be running around consulting, like Bob Sutton, teaching CEOs how not to be assholes.
LAST Call for Papers
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Editors: Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross
Editors of Workplace are accepting manuscripts for a theme issue on Academic Mobbing. Academic mobbing is defined by the Chronicle of Higher Education (11 June 2009) as: “a form of bullying in which members of a department gang up to isolate or humiliate a colleague.” The Chronicle continues:
If rumors are circulating about the target’s supposed misdeeds, if the target is excluded from meetings or not named to committees, or if people are saying the target needs to be punished formally “to be taught a lesson,” it’s likely that mobbing is under way.
As Joan Friedenberg eloquently notes in The Anatomy of an Academic Mobbing, the toll taken is excessive. Building on a long history of both analysis and neglect in academia, Workplace is interested in a range of scholarship on this practice, including theoretical frameworks, legal analyses, resistance narratives, reports from the trenches, and labor policy reviews. We invite manuscripts that address, among other foci:
- Effects of academic mobbing
- History of academic mobbing
- Sociology and ethnography of the practices of an academic mob
- Social psychology of the academic mob leader or boss
- Academic mobbing factions (facts & fictions) or short stories
- Legal defense for academic mob victims and threats (e.g., Protectable political affiliation, race, religion)
- Gender norms of an academic mob
- Neo-McCarthyism and academic mobbing
- Your story…
Contributions for Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to APA, Chicago, or MLA style.
FINAL Date for Papers: May 30, 2014
CFP: Educate, Agitate, Organize! Teacher Resistance Against Neoliberal Reforms (Special Issue of Workplace)
Call for Papers Special Issue
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Mark Stern, Colgate University
Amy Brown, University of Pennsylvania
Khuram Hussain, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
I can tell you with confidence, one year later [from the Measure of Progress test boycott in Seattle schools], I know where our actions will lead: to the formation of a truly mass civil rights movement composed of parents, teachers, educational support staff, students, administrators, and community members who want to end high-stakes standardized testing and reclaim public education from corporate reformers.—Jesse Hagopian, History Teacher and Black Student Union Adviser at Garfield High School, Seattle
As many of us have documented in our scholarly work, the past five years have witnessed a full-fledged attack on public school teachers and their unions. With backing from Wall Street and venture philanthropists, the public imaginary has been saturated with images and rhetoric decrying teachers as the impediments to ‘real’ change in K-12 education. Docu-dramas like Waiting For ‘Superman,’ news stories like Steve Brill’s, “The Teachers’ Unions’ Last Stand,” in The New York Times Magazineand high profile rhetoric like Michelle Rhee’s mantra that students, not adults, need to be “put first” in education reform, all point to this reality: teachers face an orchestrated, billion dollar assault on their professional status, their knowledge, and their abilities to facilitate dialogical spaces in classrooms. This assault has materialized and been compounded by an austerity environment that is characterized by waning federal support and a narrow corporate agenda. Tens of thousands of teachers have suffered job loss, while thousands more fear the same.
Far from being silent, teachers are putting up a fight. From the strike in Chicago, to grassroots mobilizing to wrest control of the United Federation of Teachers in New York, to public messaging campaigns in Philadelphia, from boycotts in Seattle to job action and strikes in British Columbia, teachers and their local allies are organizing, agitating and confronting school reform in the name of saving public education. In collaboration with parents, community activists, school staff, students, and administrators, teacher are naming various structures of oppression and working to reclaim the conversation and restore a sense of self-determination to their personal, professional, and civic lives.
This special issue of Workplace calls for proposals to document the resistance of teachers in the United States, Canada, and globally. Though much has been written about the plight of teachers under neoliberal draconianism, the reparative scholarship on teachers’ educating, organizing, and agitating is less abundant. This special issue is solely dedicated to mapping instances of resistance in hopes of serving as both resource and inspiration for the growing movement.
This issue will have three sections, with three different formats for scholarship/media. Examples might include:
I. Critical Research Papers (4000-6000 words)
- Qualitative/ethnographic work documenting the process of teachers coming to critical consciousness.
- Critical historiographies linking trajectories of political activism of teachers/unions across time and place.
- Documenting and theorizing teacher praxis—protests, community education campaigns, critical agency in the classroom.
- Critical examinations of how teachers, in specific locales, are drawing on and enacting critical theories of resistance (Feminist, Politics of Love/Caring/Cariño, Black Radical Traditions, Mother’s Movements, and so on).
II. Portraits of Resistance
- Autobiographical sketches from the ground. (~2000 words)
- Alternative/Artistic representations/Documentations of Refusal (poetry, visual art, photography, soundscapes)
III. Analysis and Synthesis of Various Media
- Critical book, blog, art, periodical, music, movie reviews. (1500-2000 words)
400-word abstracts should be sent to Mark Stern (email@example.com) by May 15, 2014. Please include name, affiliation, and a very brief (3-4 sentences) professional biography.
Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by June 15. Final drafts will be due October 1, 2014. Please note that having your proposal accepted does not guarantee publication. All final drafts will go through peer-review process. Authors will be notified of acceptance for publication by November 1.
Please direct all questions to Mark Stern (firstname.lastname@example.org).