Board meeting report: September 15, 2022

The FAUW Board of Directors met for the first time in the 2022–23 academic year on September 15. For those new to the blog, we (try to) provide updates after (most) board meetings, to keep members up to date on what we’re working on.

At this meeting:

The board welcomed new directors and FAUW’s new executive manager, Matthew Root. If you missed it in our latest newsletter, Matt’s background is in labour relations, specifically in the broader public sector and post-secondary education fields, and he started in August. New directors this year are Nancy Worth (Geography), Shannon Majowicz (School of Public Health Sciences), and Paul Wehr (Psychology). See the full list of directors here.

Parliamentarian Katy Fulfer gave a refresher on what a parliamentarian is:

A parliamentarian is an advisor to an organization, including but not limited to the president, a meeting chair, officers, committees, and members, on rules of order (47:46). Their advice is non-binding. The president or (in a meeting) the meeting chair gets to make the final decision about procedure.

I imagine the parliamentarian like an angel on your shoulder, whispering advice. In the lingo of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, this angel is lawful neutral. The lawful part is probably obvious. The neutrality speaks to the parliamentarian’s role as a consultant. They do not participate in debate, and Robert’s Rules of Order goes as far to say they should abstain from voting unless ballots are used, where their vote will not be seen by members (47.55). 

Policy updates

FAUW President Lori Curtis expanded on some updates delivered at the August general meeting about the status of some policy issues. While we hear a lot about Policy 76/77, Policy 57 (Accommodations), Policy 12 (Compassionate Care Leave), and Policy 33 (Ethical behaviour) also remain incomplete. Our FAUW reps are pushing for movement on P57 and P12 at their PDCs. It is our understanding that Policy 33 is with the Secretariat. Lori also noted that FAUW brought up the Salary Anomaly Review again at the last Faculty Relations Committee meeting. While administration states they are fully supportive of the process beginning, we will keep pushing for this to actually move it forward. We also reminded the administration about the letters from the Equity and Lecturers committees with recommendations for improving the review process.

COVID and masks on campus

The Board also, of course, talked about COVID and what the University is (or isn’t) doing to reduce the risk of transmission on campus. FAUW representatives raised concerns with the administration about the University’s posters about masking on campus, namely that they undermine the University’s position about ‘strongly encouraging’ everyone to wear a mask. The administration agreed, and we’ve since been told that new posters are in the works.

FAUW’s position earlier this year was in favour of continuing a mask requirement on campus. The Board revisited this issue in light of the current status of the pandemic. We’re very happy to have Board members with relevant expertise in microbiology and epidemiology, who are going to consult with colleagues and bring more information back for further discussion at the next meeting. In the meantime, the Board voted in favour of running a campaign promoting the University’s own language of “strongly recommending” masks, though the more recent news about the University’s posters may change these plans.

Policies 76/77

Finally, the board discussed, as usual, the status of policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members).

Following some discussion about the current “path forward” being worked out with administration, the board supported the latest draft path forward and agreed to take the path forward to the membership at a general meeting this fall, followed by a poll of lecturers, as per the motion passed at the August general meeting.

The board noted an important clarification about the path forward: while the “steps”—policy drafting committee meetings, mediation, arbitration—are numbered in the drafts of the path forward that have been shared so far, they are not actually separate—or separable—parts of the process. The path forward is all one process that automatically proceeds to each stage, triggered by the failure of the previous stage.

This is necessary in part because, as we’ve been advised, a mediator is not likely to agree to a mediation/arbitration process if either side can opt out of said process before arbitration. It is also not at all in our best interests—and indeed the process breaks down—if either side can say “well, we probably won’t win at arbitration, so we’ll just stop now,” because then there’s no incentive to negotiate earnestly. The administration could simply stonewall us and then back out before arbitration. And we don’t imagine that the administration would agree to give us an “out” without them getting one as well.

Importantly, the board also agreed with President Lori Curtis’s plan that the majority of FAUW appointees to the policy drafting committee (and therefore any potential mediation/arbitration) will be lecturers.

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