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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Friday, May 8, 1998

  • Profs will vote on agreement
  • More of what it says
  • Cool! It's officially summer
  • The rest of the story
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Profs will vote on agreement

Faculty members should be getting ballots next week to vote on a proposed Memorandum of Agreement between UW and the faculty association. The new document would go into effect as soon as it's ratified by faculty members and by UW's board of governors, which meets on June 1.

The agreement is the result of months of talks between UW officials and representatives of the faculty association. John Wilson of the political science department, the chief negotiator for the association, sent out a memo yesterday to say that he and the administration's chief negotiator, dean of science John Thompson, had formally signed the agreement on Wednesday morning.

Eligible to vote next week will be everyone who will be represented by the association when and if the agreement is approved: "all regular faculty members (Policy 53, II.A) who hold definite term, probationary, tenured, or continuing appointments, on either a full-time or fractional-load basis; and all part-time faculty members (Policy 53, II.B.6) who hold definite term appointments of one year or more with FTE of at least 50% (as specified in the letter of appointment)". Ballots are to be returned by May 27.

The agreement would replace the existing Memorandum, which dates from 1985.

If the new agreement is approved, there will be another ballot in the fall ("no later than October 15") on one specific point -- a clause that would require all faculty members to pay dues to the faculty association, whether or not they choose to join it. (Those with "a bona fide religious objection" could give an equivalent amount to charity.)

The other sections of the agreement would go into effect immediately after ratification this spring. They deal with everything from the association's office space to academic freedom, dismissal proceedings against faculty members, and grievance procedures. A long section about salary negotiations restates the existing process, which includes face-to-face discussions, mediation, and "final offer selection" by an arbitrator if no agreement can be reached.

More of what it says

Some excerpts from the Memorandum:
6.1 Academic freedom provides the possibility of examining, questioning, teaching, and learning, and involves the right to investigate, speculate, and comment without deference to prescribed doctrine. As such, it entails the freedom of individuals to practise their professions of teacher, researcher and scholar, the freedom to publish their findings, the freedom to teach and engage in open discussion, the freedom to be creative, the freedom to select, acquire, disseminate, and use documents in the exercise of their professional activities, and the freedom to criticize the University and the Association. Academic freedom also entails freedom from Institutional censorship.

8.1 A Member may be disciplined only for just cause and only in accordance with the provisions of this Article. Disciplinary processes are not to be used to inhibit free inquiry, discussion, exercise of judgement, or honest criticism within or without the University. Disciplinary action shall be reasonable, commensurate with the seriousness of the violations, and consistent with accumulated practice under this Article. The Parties recognize the value of promoting corrective action through guidance and progressive discipline, although this will not always be appropriate.

9.2.2 A dispute arising out of the interpretation, application, administration, or alleged violation of UW policies and established practices, this Agreement, or other agreements between the University and the Association may be the subject of an individual or group grievance and, subject to the terms of this Article, may be taken to arbitration.

9.2.3 An allegation that a Member (or group of Members) has been disciplined without just cause, or treated in a manner which is arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory or in bad faith, may be the subject of an individual (or group) grievance and, subject to the terms of this Article, may be taken to arbitration.

9.2.4 No matter which may be the subject of procedures set out in either Policy 46 (Promotion of Faculty Members) or Policy 53 (Faculty Appointments - Tenure) concerning promotion, tenure, or the renewal of a first probationary term appointment may be the subject of grievance or arbitration under this Article, except that an alleged failure by UTAC or UPAC to comply with such procedures may be the subject of an individual grievance.

9.4.4 Grievances not resolved at Stage 1 may be taken to arbitration. At the sole choice of the Grievor, the grievance may be taken to an internal Tribunal (see 9.7) or to an external Arbitrator (see 9.8), except that, grievances under 9.2.4 shall be heard by an internal Tribunal, and Association grievances and grievances against dismissal for cause shall be heard by an external Arbitrator. The choice between an internal Tribunal and external Arbitrator shall be irrevocable, and in no case shall a grievance be taken to both.

9.6.10 The final decision of the Tribunal or Arbitrator shall be in writing, supported by reasons. The decision and reasons shall be provided to the Grievor, the University, and the Association within a reasonable time, normally not more than two months after the close of hearings. The decision shall be binding on the Grievor and the University.

Several subjects aren't covered in the Memorandum and will be the subject of later negotiations, a final section says. Among them: the possibility of having professional librarians, as well as professors, represented by the faculty association. Negotiations on that subject are to start no later than November 1.

The faculty association will hold information meetings about the agreement on May 12, May 13 and May 20, all at 2:30 p.m. and all in Physics room 145.

Cool! It's officially summer

The air conditioning was turned on across campus yesterday, as the afternoon temperature hit 22.9 Celsius at the north campus weather station.

May 7 is the earliest that cooling has ever been turned on for the season at UW, says David Churchill of the plant operations department. "We're not able to restrain ourselves any longer! It's just been so unseasonably warm." Indeed it has -- look at those flowering crabapple trees along University Avenue, weeks before we'd have any right to expect their startling colour. "Everything is a month ahead of schedule," one gardener told me yesterday.

Beware, though. "In the Kitchener-Waterloo area," says Marie Sanderson of UW's geography department in her book Weather and Climate in Kitchener-Waterloo, "the last killing frost has occurred as early as April 16th (1937) and as late as June 1 (1972). The average date for this occurrence is May 12th."

Churchill and his colleagues are betting that there won't be another serious cold spell this spring. They filled the chilled-water coils Wednesday, and flipped the switch yesterday, delivering a total of 7,000 tons of air conditioning power to the "ring" distribution system that reaches all campus buildings. (How come air conditioning is measured in tons, anyway?)

Churchill notes that "spot cooling" in some buildings was in operation earlier -- keeping machinery from overheating, for instance. There are bound to be a few glitches when the system is turned on for the season, he said; anyone who detects a problem can report it to ext. 3793.

The rest of the story

The kinesiology department holds a seminar today starring retired faculty member Neil Widmeyer, who's keeping busy just now as sport psychologist for the Guelph Storm, the champs of the Ontario Hockey League. "Neil will be talking," I'm told, "on 'Getting the Best out of Your Athlete' -- a one-day workshop showing how to enhance the psychological skills of athletic performance. He is a very entertaining speaker!" Last-minute information: Betty Bax, ext. 2610.

A symposium today marks the 30th anniversary of the biochemical engineering group at UW, headed by Murray Moo-Young of chemical engineering. Keynote speaker is Charles Cooney of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, speaking on technology transfer (9:20 a.m. in room 2534 of the Doug Wright Building, a.k.a. Engineering I).

The Humanities Theatre will be busy this weekend. Tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., it hosts concerts by the Twin City Harmonizers, a barbershop organization (as in music, not as in hair). Sunday afternoon at 2, "Playing on the Moon", a local theatre school for children, offers a performance that's mostly for the families of the performers.

The research office has just issued its spring Research Bulletin, with a listing of "research funding opportunities" with deadlines during the next few months. Granting agencies included range from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Only "a limited number of paper copies" are being distributed, as most people can use the information just fine through UWinfo, the office says.

A meeting has been scheduled for next Thursday "regarding the use of the multi-faith prayer room" in the Student Life Centre. "If your group is interested in using the prayer room, please attend this meeting," says Nancy O'Neil in the SLC office. It will be held May 14 at 11:30 in SLC room 2134.

In yesterday's Bulletin I presented a little mathematical problem borrowed from Phys 13 News, and I must apologize to anyone who saw it on the newsgroup version of the Bulletin and was baffled as a result. In that medium, the problem ended up left-aligned, and made no sense. It was supposed to be (and on the Web version of the Bulletin it was) right-aligned, like this:

Another correction: I said a couple of days ago that the Village I office was moving temporarily away from its "rooftop" location. Actually it left the rooftop last year, as part of the first phase of Village renovations, I've been reminded. Right now it's in North 6 room 101; it'll return in September to its permanent home on the lower level of the Village core.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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