— Bryan Tolson, FAUW President
It has come to FAUW’s attention that an unofficial Laurier club has rented the Theatre of the Arts on April 30 for an event featuring Faith Goldy and Ricardo Duchesne. Goldy is a former commentator with The Rebel Media whose contract was terminated for her appearance on a white nationalist podcast. Duchesne is the author of Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians. They will be discussing “multiculturalism, borders, and identity in Canada.”
I’ve checked, and the Theatre of the Arts is indeed available for public rentals whenever it isn’t being used for academic purposes (you might have noticed the dance competitions last week, for example). This is an external event, not supported or endorsed by the University of Waterloo. The speakers were not invited to campus by faculty, staff, or students. Their ideas do not reflect the views or the scholarship of our faculty, staff, or students. I personally don’t want to hear what these speakers have to say and won’t be on campus during this event.
But that’s not enough for me or FAUW because we want people who are marginalized by these messages to know that we support them. Continue reading “FAUW Supports a Multicultural UW. Will You Help?” →
—George Freeman, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
The President’s Luncheon on Academic Freedom, held March 12, was the start of a great exploration, particularly if the university develops a serious interest in President Hamdullahpur’s vision around seeking to be a top-ten school, seen in his discussion document “Disrupting the 21st Century University, Imagining the University of Waterloo @2025” where it is expressed as the question “do we want to be recognized and respected as one of the best in the world?” [emphasis added].
This first meeting spoke to the general policies protecting academic freedom at Waterloo and focused mostly on aspects protecting our freedom to engage controversial ideas and disseminate controversial results. I take a much wider definition of academic freedom which includes all three of President Hamdullahpur’s “non-negotiable principles” around this topic: institutional autonomy, faculty independence, and academic freedom”. Although dismissable as just semantics, I believe it is important to not forget those institutional- and faculty-autonomy components. There’s a similar trap in the University of Waterloo Act, where our objects are “the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression.” It is too easy to group free enquiry and free expression under a common mental heading of “free talk” and forget that what it is we talk about has to come from someplace. Academic freedom in the large also protects that place (or spirit).
In my opinion, the history of scholarship demonstrates that it is extremely difficult to suppress ideas and their evidence-based evaluation forever. To me, academic freedom, in the freedom-of-expression sense, acts mostly to prevent long delays and prevent the messenger from being punished for the message. This protection of an environment free of recrimination and censorship is obviously important but not the whole story. In a policy sense, it admits to after-the-fact remedies for violations, something easy for us to contemplate.
Continue reading “A View of Academic Freedom and Top-ten-ness” →
We have received some questions about the Responsible Investing Working Group, which is tasked with making recommendations about whether and how to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision making for the investment of the university’s endowment and pension funds.
This working group was created in good part in response to approaches by faculty, students, and staff with interests and concerns about how the university invests, in particular calls for the University to divest from fossil fuels. It is a working group of the Board of Governors, since it is the Board that has primary oversight of investments. The FAUW representative is Alan Macnaughton who is also a member of the Pension and Benefits Committee.
The working group has not yet produced its report. Anyone interested in these issues who has not yet provided input to the group should do so as soon as possible. You can send your input to Mike Grivicic in the Secretariat.
FAUW is looking forward to the release of the working group’s report. We will seek input from members and formulate a response at that time. Please make sure you follow our blog and emails if these are issues of interest to you.
—Bryan Tolson, FAUW President
I want to thank everyone who attended the President’s Luncheon on Academic Freedom last week. For those who missed it, there was a summary in the Daily Bulletin last Friday and I’ve highlighted some key takeaways below. It was a compelling discussion with insightful questions from all, so thank you again to all who participated.
It’s clear that academic freedom is important to our members. It’s also clear that it’s a complicated issue, and I look forward to further discussion. Here are a few points from this event that I think are worth highlighting.
Continue reading “Notes from the President’s Luncheon on Academic Freedom” →
FAUW President Bryan Tolson (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Treasurer Dan Brown (Computer Science) lobbied at Queen’s Park on March 20, advocating for investment in the university sector, renewal of faculty ranks, and better working conditions for short-term and contract faculty.
Tolson and Brown were part of a team of 25 faculty members from across Ontario, brought together by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), which represents 17,000 faculty members and academic librarians at 28 universities across Ontario.
Tolson and Brown met with several MPPs from Waterloo Region and neighbouring Wellington County: Hon. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre), Hon. Kathryn McGarry (Cambridge), Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga), and Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills); they also met with legislative staff for Catherine Fife (Kitchener-Waterloo). Continue reading “FAUW Execs Appeal to MPPs at OCUFA Queen’s Park Lobby Day” →
We were please by the University’s announcement last week that it was named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for its commitment to gender equity.
We were especially excited to see two initiatives started by FAUW volunteers—Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays and our Equity & Inclusivity Award—specifically mentioned as contributing factors to the University’s selection!
The Equity & Inclusivity Award is a project of our Status of Women & Equity Committee (SWEC). Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays (W3) is run by a committee with representation from faculty, staff (including our own), students, and postdocs. It is funded in part by FAUW and the Staff Association.
FAUW is actively working on equity issues of all kinds across campus at the Board level, through representatives on policy drafting and other committees, and via our own Status of Women and Equity Committee.
SWEC has working groups investigating a number of areas, including accessibility and accommodations, healthy workplaces, hiring, and the needs of racial and cultural minorities. There will be a call for new members in May.
As an academic community, one of our moral obligations is to openly and freely share our ideas in the hopes that they may benefit others. Given the nature of our jobs, this same principle logically applies to the sharing of teaching materials. Policy 73 describes how intellectual property rights pertain to teaching materials as well as the University’s expectations with regards to the sharing of these materials.
Your rights (section 8b, “Principles”):
The creation of materials required for course management and administration, such as course outlines, final exams and laboratory manuals, is considered an assigned task, and copyright for such material is vested in the University. This does not apply to more detailed teaching materials, such as course notes, for which the copyright belongs to the creator.
Your responsibilities (same section):
However, any of the latter material which has been printed and distributed or made publicly available should also be available for royalty-free use for teaching and research by other members of the University.
Sharing teaching materials respectfully
One of the principles on which the policy is based is that “all contributors to scholarly works should receive appropriate recognition for their contributions.” We would like to remind members of the University community who benefit from royalty-free teaching materials that it is incumbent upon you to respect your colleagues’ work by retaining the original creator’s name on the materials and/or otherwise recognizing their authorship.
Adapted from a message from Ontario College and University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
February 28 is OCUFA’s annual social media day of action. The day provides an opportunity for faculty, students, staff, and supporters across Ontario to get the issues of precarious work and fairness for contract faculty (sessionals and definite term lecturers, in Waterloo terms) trending on various social media platforms.
This year’s day of action will be use the momentum generated by Bill 148 to build more support for contract faculty in the lead-up to the provincial election in June.
The goal of the day will be to get as many people as possible to tweet and post Facebook messages to their provincial election candidates. The messages will highlight priorities for contract faculty at our institutions, the need to close gaps in Bill 148, how precarity for contract faculty can affect the quality of education, and where we go from here. Continue reading “February 28 is OCUFA’s Bill 148 Social Media Day of Action” →
—Bryan Tolson, FAUW President
It is almost election time for FAUW and we are looking for six good people to join the FAUW Board of Directors! (See our website for a description of the open positions and deadlines.) My term as FAUW president runs to June 2019, so we will get to work together for one year!
While I am very fond of all the current Board members and will be saddened to see any of them leave, contested elections are healthy for an organization and we hope to see multiple candidates for all open positions.
In particular, we are seeking a diverse set of candidates including good representation from women and both visible and invisible minorities. Having a variety of perspectives around the table when we debate issues is key to our success. While the current gender balance on our Board is good, we do need better representation of other minority groups, and we need your help in assembling a slate of candidates that moves us in this direction.
Continue reading “Diversifying the FAUW Board in the Next Election” →
To help clarify some of the implications and motivations of items in the new salary settlement, our chief negotiator has provided some commentary. Here is the full text of the agreement with annotations in italics.
Continue reading “Breaking Down Our New Salary Settlement” →