Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Universities II: ... can't live without 'em.

(A friend who teaches history at a Nova Scotia university asked if I would pass on the following:)

Bill 100, the Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act, was introduced in the Legislature earlier this week. This legislation permits universities to produce a “revitalization plan” to qualify for funding from the Province. CAUT has stated that if adopted, this legislation would “violate constitutional rights, undermine the independence of universities and compromise academic freedom.”
  • The “revitalization plan” would give the Minister the power to attach conditions to university grants that will override job security protections and impose government priorities for teaching and research, including “turning research into business opportunities.” 
  • Universities under such a plan would have unilateral powers to override the rights of faculty and impose changes in working conditions. 
  • The legislation could also prevent faculty from exercising their academic freedom, especially if they oppose or criticize administration or government actions. 
  • It suspends the right of unions to enforce aspects of their collective agreement that relate in any way to the “revitalization plan.” Employees would be prohibited from grieving the employer’s violations of these provisions if the university decides to cut faculty or eliminate programs. 
  • It suspends the right of faculty and staff to strike in any university with a “revitalization plan”. This section of the Act could be unconstitutional, given a recent Supreme Court decision confirming that the right to strike is constitutionally protected. 
Full text of the legislation is here.

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