Senate Executive issues message to students about potential strike

The Executive Committee of the Senate of York University yesterday issued the following message to students, titled "Academic Implications of a Potential Strike by CUPE 3903". The full text can also be seen on the York Secretariat’s Labour Disruptions Information page.

Local 3903 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (which represents teaching assistants, contractual faculty and graduate assistants) has announced a strike deadline of Nov. 6, 2008. This does not mean that a strike will occur, or that it will begin on Nov. 6. However, if a strike does occur, and with the few exceptions listed below, all academic activities will be suspended for its duration. Classes and examinations will not be held. If a disruption is short in duration (seven days or less) appropriate remedies will be determined by course directors in the first instance. It is assumed that a disruption that lasts more than seven days will require adjustments determined by the Senate or its executive committee.

The University Senate (which is responsible for the academic policy of the University) has enacted a policy with three governing principles that will guide decisions that may be required:

  • Academic Integrity: The primary obligation of Senate is to ensure the academic integrity of all programs. No dilution of standards normally expected of students should be permitted and there should be as little diminution as possible in the instructional or supervisory support given to students.
  • Fairness to Students: Students will have reasonable alternative access to materials, to reasonable extensions of deadlines and to such other remedy as Senate deems necessary and consistent with the principle of academic integrity. Such remedies shall not alter the academic standards associated with the missed activity nor shall it relieve the student of the responsibility for mastering materials covered. The availability of a remedy under this policy does not guarantee students the same learning experience that  they would have received in the absence of a disruption.
  • Timely Information: Students, staff and faculty members have a right to be informed in a timely manner of  changed requirements, rescheduled academic activities and procedures to be in effect at the conclusion of  the disruption.

If a strike by CUPE 3903 occurs, Senate Executive will make a declaration to this effect and take the steps outlined in the policy. This will include a request that University officers use their best efforts to inform relevant external agencies about the disruption and to ask that externally imposed deadlines be extended. Although any labour dispute is bound to cause difficulties, Senate Executive wants to assure the University community that it will deal quickly and sensitively with academic implications as they arise.

The full text of the Disruptions Policy can be found on the Senate policies and procedures Web site. Any authorized changes in deadlines or rescheduling will be posted on the Web sites of the Senate, registrar, Faculties, colleges and offices serving students. The University’s home page will be an important source for information and links.

Professor Brenda Spotton Visano
Chair of Senate

Exceptions:  Non-degree credit activities not involving CUPE 3903 employees; activities already scheduled off campus, such as off-campus courses, practicums, placements or internships (unless the dean determines that they too should be suspended in his/her Faculty); degree credit activities provided by the Osgoode Hall Law School at its downtown campus; graduate degree credit activities at the Schulich School of Business and in the Masters of Human Resources Management.

Note: In the Faculty of Education, the practicums of all teacher candidates are suspended by policy of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. For further information contact Jennifer Watt, practicum coordinator, Faculty of Education, Education students may also access information at the Faculty Web site. In the Faculty of Health, all nursing clinical placements and practicums are suspended.