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Democratizing our University

During the 2019 Listening Tour on Workload, the limited meaningful consultation with APUO members and the propensity of decision-making structures at our University to act unilaterally were identified as barriers undermining our capacity to realize collective objectives. APUO members are experts in our respective disciplines and fields as well as the professionals who carry out our University’s core mandates on a daily basis. This responsibility provides us with unique expertise and understanding about what our institution needs in order to preserve high-quality education, lead innovative research, deliver the best possible student experience, and establish a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus community. Enhancing APUO members’ input into decision-making at our University is a key step forward in creating a more positive and productive work environment for all.

This is why the APUO tabled four proposals aimed at democratizing our University.

Academic postings

APUO members identified the current centralized approach to assigning academic postings as a matter of concern in both the 2019 Listening Tour on workload and the December Bargaining Survey. The Central Administration’s current approach gives it unilateral power to prioritize certain disciplines/fields/programs over others and this has direct consequences on members’ workloads. Equally concerning, by narrowly circumscribing members roles in delineating the expertise needs of their academic units, the centralized approach to assigning academic postings constrains our capacity to become leaders in certain disciplines, fields, and programs.

If adopted, our Academic Postings proposal would introduce a new section in the Collective Agreement that establishes a more collaborative and consultative process for deciding on academic postings and their allocation across academic units.

You can view the proposal in full here.

Selection and reappointment of senior administrators

Deans and the University Librarian hold enormous influence over the working conditions of APUO members, their capacity both to deliver high-quality education and research, and to perform key services in the community.

As a means to foster a more collegial work environment that supports APUO members’ efforts at fulfilling our University’s core mandates, the APUO is tabling a Selection and Reappointment of Administrators proposal that, if adopted, would introduce a democratic ratification vote for the appointment and reappointment of Deans and the University Librarian.

You can view the proposal in full here.

Opening the Exclusions Article of the Collective Agreement

At present, members elected to the Board of Governors or appointed to the Joint Committee are excluded from the APUO bargaining unit. The Central Administration justifies this approach on the grounds that were those who sit on these decision-making bodies to maintain their APUO membership, they would be influenced by those they represent, which implies a conflict between their interests, and those of our University.

By contrast, the APUO maintains that the interests of all stakeholders on campus, including those of APUO members, should be heard and considered at all levels of decision-making. This is why the APUO is tabling a proposal to open Article 3 of the Collective Agreement, with the aim of ensuring that members elected to the Board of Governors and/or appointed to the Joint Committee maintain their membership in our bargaining unit.

You can view the proposal in full here.

Departmental Assembly.

Concerns have frequently been raised with the APUO about non-APUO members periodically participating and voting in Departmental Assemblies; a space typically reserved for APUO members to hold discussions and debates free of interference from senior administrators.

The APUO is tabling a Departmental Assembly proposal that clarifies who in Departmental Assemblies has voting rights. If adopted, this proposal will ensure senior administrators cannot interfere, directly or indirectly, with democratic decision-making at the departmental level.

You can view the proposal in full here.