October 14 FAUW Board of Directors meeting report

And we’re back! Here’s what we’ve been working on lately – please comment below or contact us to let us know what you think!

  1. The AODA Education Standard recommendations. There are 179 initial recommendations that would inform accessibility standards (regulations) for postsecondary education across Ontario, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. FAUW’s representative on the University’s Accessibility Committee, Zara Rafferty, visited this meeting to discuss how the recommended standards might affect faculty, and to gather concerns to inform the University’s submission to the ministry. A thread throughout the discussion and the feedback Zara has received is that instructors will need significant support in order to meet the proposed requirements. The deadline to send feedback to Zara has passed, but you can submit comments individually until November 1. Your Council member has more information about this.
  2. Proposed changes to pension plan investment documents. The Pension Investment Committee has drafted changes to the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures and introduced new Fund Implementation Procedures and a Responsible Investment Policy. The drafts are available in the agenda for the October 22 Pension & Benefits Committee meeting. We are concerned that the proposed changes introduce unnecessary risk, may be ineffective in implementing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria, and could reduce accountability to plan members. In addition, the administration at times appears to treat pension funds as university assets, which is inappropriate.
  3. Policies 76 and 77. After the latest drafting committee failed to submit substantial revisions for the Faculty Appointments and Tenure & Promotion policies, the Board directed your Faculty Relations Committee representatives to request mediation as a way to move forward. The Board also identified things we absolutely must achieve for our teaching-intensive members (there’s a longer list on our website), including:
    • Teaching-stream professorial ranks with defined progression through these ranks.
    • Time to do the work required to progress through the ranks, in a pedagogical/professional development term (one in every six terms).
  4. Our grievance related to Policy 14 – Pregnancy & Parental Leaves (including Adoption) and the Return to Work. Members who were already on pregnancy leave when the new policy passed (on April 6) were informed by the University that when their parental leave started (after April 6), they would not qualify for expanded benefits under the new policy because it’s all “one leave” that started before the policy came into effect, even though individuals who did not give birth and went on parental leave at the same time did qualify. We believe this is inequitable treatment and that these are two separate leaves in policy, and have filed an association grievance. We know of at least five members affected by this; please contact Lori Curtis if it affects you as well.
  1. The Black and Indigenous faculty cluster hires. A BIPOC executive search firm has been contracted by the University (BIPOC Executive Search). Applicants were asked to indicate for which faculty/department they would like to be considered, and a committee of deans and support individuals will soon examine the first round of applications to identify the distribution of applicants across faculties and departments. One of our Executive Committee members, Trevor Charles, while not acting as a representative of FAUW per se, is being consulted in this process.
  2. Discipline for non-compliance with the vaccine mandate. An October 8 communication from the University president and provost outlined the progressive discipline process for employees failing to meet the vaccination/disclosure mandate. The final step is ‘If the individual remains non-compliant 14 days before the end of the 42-day suspension, they will receive a letter indicating that their pay and benefits will cease as at the end of the suspension.’ As we do with all faculty undergoing discipline, the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee will work with members who approach us to assure a fair and unbiased disciplinary process including examining the appropriateness of any disciplinary measure.
  3. How the Board works, and a new committee. The Board has been having discussions about its internal functioning, including possibly recruiting a “parliamentarian” to help the Board navigate more formal rules of order. We also passed a motion to expand the mandate of the Elections Committee to also solicit applications for and recommend appointments of FAUW members to University committees (this is currently done by the Board of Directors on a more ad hoc basis). If you are interested in joining and helping to shape this Elections/Nominations Committee, please contact Laura McDonald.
  4. Research professors: We started working toward representing UW’s research professors before the pandemic. We recently agreed at Faculty Relations Committee that we don’t have the capacity to address the required policy and Memorandum of Agreement changes until we settle the current policy issues. Representing research professors is still important and we will come back to it as soon as we can.
  5. The Dean of Environment search. Nancy Worth and Jenna Moon Frankie Phillips are interested in any input that may be of interest to the search committee for the Dean of Environment as it begins its process. Please contact them directly if you would like to provide input.

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