The following is an important message to York University community members from Provost and Vice-President Academic Lisa Philipps:
Several outside organizations, including Amnesty International and Greenpeace, have expressed support for a Climate Day of Action on Friday, Sept. 27. We recognize the compelling imperative to mitigate climate change and its harmful effects on people and nature worldwide. Sustainability is a core value of York University, and we are known for advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through a wide range of research, teaching, community engagement and service activities.
Members of the York University community who wish to participate in the Climate Day of Action activities during their normal class or work hours on Sept. 27 will be accommodated where possible and should take note of the following guidelines:
Staff are expected to request a personal or vacation day to be absent from work to participate in Climate Day of Action activities on Sept. 27. Managers are encouraged to accommodate such requests wherever possible, even on short notice.
Faculty who intend to cancel a class on Sept. 27 to participate in Climate Day of Action activities are expected to inform their students and their dean’s office of the cancellation at the earliest possible opportunity. It is essential that the faculty member provide their students and their dean’s office with clear information on how they intend to cover course material scheduled for that day through alternate means (via a makeup class, special readings, online activities or other means). Faculty may wish to incorporate discussion around the climate strike into their syllabi where appropriate; any change to course requirements would require students’ agreement.
Students have been at the forefront of many climate-related protests globally, and we recognize that some York University students will participate in this national event on Sept. 27. Under our governance framework, the University Senate has authority over academic policy matters. I will be bringing a motion to Senate at its meeting scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 26 to declare Sept. 27 a day of academic accommodation for which no student shall receive an academic penalty for not attending classes, and concurrently that course directors provide students an appropriate extension of deadlines that day and reasonable alternative access to materials covered during their absence that does not alter the academic standards associated with the missed activity. Deciding not to attend classes on this day to participate in the external event does not relieve students of the responsibility for mastering materials covered. Students should talk to their instructors in advance of Sept. 27 to confirm alternative arrangements for any assignments due on Sept. 27 or tests scheduled for that day.