President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri issued this statement on Friday, Nov. 7:
As you are aware, classes are currently suspended at the University owing to a strike by one of our unions, CUPE Local 3903, which represents teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty.
I recognize and regret the inconvenience and concern this strike is causing to our 60,000 students, faculty and staff.
I appreciate that the suspension of classes is an extraordinary step. However, the purpose of this suspension is twofold: to protect the integrity of our academic programs and to provide clarity to our students with regard to class scheduling. We know that many of our students have other family and work commitments and commute to York as just one part of their busy lives. We owe it to our students not to leave them guessing about which classes are on or off.
I do also want to emphasize that classes have been suspended under the authority of the University’s Senate at the request of the deans and with the consent of the chair of Senate. This decision has my full support and that of the vice-president academic and provost.
It is important that we find a solution that preserves the integrity of our academic programs and gets our students and teachers back in the classroom as soon as possible. I think we all agree that the primacy of the academic program is paramount if we are to maintain the integrity of our degrees. This remains our top priority.
Finally, I would like to say that members of this union are also our students, colleagues and future colleagues. They are valued members of the York community who make an important contribution to our academic life and we look forward to a timely resolution to this difficult situation.