Recent media stories, local, national, and international

“We had every confidence that faculty on strike would be professional and respectful, and that is exactly what happened. There was a risk, however, that others coming onto (or passing by) campus might not be familiar with the rights and responsibilities of unionized employees exercising their legal right to strike,” said [UNB communications officer Heather] Campbell.

  • “In defence of our four universities.” Peter Halpin, Telegraph-Journal (March 6, 2015): this commentary, a response by the executive-director of the Association of Atlantic Universities to recent editorials in the Brunswick News media, is reproduced on the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada website: “[T]he almost hostile tone of the newspapers’ opinions bring to mind a comment attributed to British author Oscar Wilde, who mused that ‘A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing’.”
  • EXCLUSIVE: UNB paid PR firm almost $113,000 during faculty strike.” Tara Chislett, Daily Gleaner (March 4, 2015; paywall):

The Daily Gleaner request was seeking information related to the cost of communication services provided to the university from outside firms or business between Nov. 1, 2013, and Feb. 12, 2014. The request also sought details about the nature of the work any outside firm was hired to perform.

I think it can be argued that the framers of our enabling legislation envisioned meaningful consultation, where senate’s recommendations would be a valued part of the process of running the university. But that is not how university presidents appear to operate in the 21st century.

The preamble to last Friday’s motion read “there have been, however, no real substantive responses to faculty concerns regarding the current and future directions of the university and no significant initiatives from the [University Management Committee] that might lead to positive change.“

The faculty will always be in retreat so long as the vast majority of teachers are held powerless. Adjuncts are too great a temptation, too convenient a solution for a budget-minded administrator. We’re too inexpensive, too controllable, too dispensable a resource to ignore. Full-timers should be involved in helping adjuncts, not out of charity or guilt, but out of direct self-interest.

[President] Campbell said all responses to the Review are currently being collected, and after another round of comments on that feedback, senior management will make a recommendation to the executive committee of the Board of Governors.

“It’s all a part of the collegial and consultative process,” he said.

I had finally decided that “Enough’s enough”. I work for a pittance, and I cannot go on doing work for free. I am sorry that this directly affects students, but if the University wants a “Full Service” teacher, then they need to pay us as a highly qualified professional person would expect to be paid.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers has denounced the University of Manitoba’s economics department for alleged serious violations of academic freedom and a climate that has become “corrosive and dysfunctional to the point of crisis.”

  • “Part-timers at UNB need more security.” Nicholas Tracy, Daily Gleaner (Jan. 5, 2015; paywall): “Strengthening the position of part-time teachers at the University would not only strengthen its capacity to deliver first-rate education, but would also benefit the wider New Brunswick society.”

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Categories: Media