LUFA Executive Update: University Committees

(Sudbury – May 15, 2018)

One of the core components of academic freedom is the right to participate in collegial governance. For that right to be meaningful, members have to been given real opportunities to participate on University committees. The process of selection should be open, transparent and fair.

In 2013, LUFA began receiving complaints regarding the appointment of members to committees. The complaints revolved around concerns that the administration was excluding members who had dissenting opinions. While LUFA did not validate or invalidate those claims, we did ask the administration to provide evidence that they had complied with Article 5.15.29 which states:

“In order to ensure equality of opportunity to participate in university governance, the Employer agrees to circulate notice of openings on all university bodies above the Department/School/Library level to eligible Members at least two (2) weeks prior to the time that the vacancies must be filled.”

LUFA received no response. It became clear that administration was not in compliance with the article, consequently a grievance was filed. The grievance resulted in a settlement where the administration agreed to comply moving forward. The administration took steps to correct one improper appointment and we noted some improvement on Senate committees. However, despite the settlement there were still several deficiencies in the appointment process and deficiencies regarding the notification to LUFA pursuant to Article 2.50.2 (s). The initial arbitrator was seized on the matter, therefore LUFA requested another hearing with Arbitrator Keller to address the ongoing breaches of the settlement.

The hearing took place on January 18, 2018. A decision was rendered on March 26 and we are pleased to report that a positive outcome was received. The arbitrator ruled that the administration needed to follow the process in Article 5.15.29 for the committees identified by LUFA and provided indices to assist the parties in interpreting the meaning of the term, “university body”. He also ordered that, prior to reconvening the committees listed in the decision, the administration would have to ensure compliance with Article 5.15.29.

Furthermore, Arbitrator Keller ordered the administration to provide LUFA a list of all bodies and to advise LUFA the next time the bodies are to be populated. He also indicated that LUFA could follow up with him should there be concerns regarding the composition of the committees.

A copy of the decision is attached.