Faculty and students at Nipissing unite to fight back against layoffs

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As part of ongoing layoffs, the administration of Nipissing University recently announced that 22 limited-term appointments would not be renewed. This means the loss of 22 faculty members and many more courses, and does significant damage to many academic programs. On March 3, 2015, the Nipissing University Faculty Association (NUFA) and Nipissing University Students Union (NUSU) released a joint letter calling for the reinstatement of the lost faculty position as full-time tenure-track jobs. The letter is reprinted below:

To the Board of Governors of Nipissing University,

The Nipissing University Student Union and the Nipissing University Faculty Association write this open letter to you, the Board of Governors, to express concern and frustration over recent decisions made by the administration to reduce the faculty complement by approximately 13%. Morale among faculty and students is reaching an all-time low. Students don’t know if the professor currently in front of them has been targeted for no-return and as a result, classroom dynamics are altering. The 22 faculty slated for non-renewal will not be able to commit to the long-term development of their students. We are concerned that with the loss of approximately 135 face-to-face courses, the educational experience at Nipissing University will be compromised.

The University needs to discontinue its reliance on contract academic staff but also provide job security for all faculty. In the current year, more than 50% of classes are being taught by non-tenure stream faculty and the precarious nature of their employment has never been so obvious. Since the Board of Governors is concerned with the long-term interests of the University and the city, please begin to realize that only job security and more tenure-stream positions will ensure that Nipissing can continue to be the great University we all want it to be.

The cuts came without faculty, student, or Senate consultation. Was there consideration of the implications on students currently enrolled in programs? Chairs of academic units have already indicated that they will be forced to cancel courses and change their programs. Reducing the number of course offerings creates long-term difficulties for academic units: a department that offers fewer and fewer courses will be less and less attractive to students, resulting in even fewer students, classes, and faculty. Please consider the long-term interests of the University and reinstate at least some of the lost Limited Term Appointments but as tenure-stream positions.

Sincerely,

Chris Burke, VP External, on behalf of the NUSU Board of Directors

Rob Breton, President, NUFA

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