OCUFA Board considers Laurentian, fall campus re-openings, U of T censure

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On May 28, OCUFA held its final Board of Directors Meeting of the 2020-21 academic year. The virtual meeting focused on continuing developments at Laurentian University, university reopening plans for fall 2021, and saw the election of a new OCUFA Executive for 2021-22.

Financial crisis at Laurentian University

The collapse of Laurentian University under the CCAA process has led to more than a hundred job losses, dozens of program cuts, and immeasurable damage to the social and economic fabric of Sudbury and Northern Ontario. Developments at Laurentian have also raised concerns at other universities about the decision Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano and the Ford government made to ignore the financial crisis at Laurentian. Board members discussed OCUFA’s campaign to hold the government accountable for properly funding and supporting Ontario’s universities.

Fall campus re-openings

As vaccination rates increase, Ontario’s universities are pushing towards a return to in-person teaching in the fall with optimistic announcements. However, important health and safety concerns remain. At the Board Meeting, members discussed reopening plans at their institutions and noted that university administrations continue to avoid working with faculty and students to determine the measures needed to allow for a safe return to campus. OCUFA continues to collect information about fall 2021 campus operating plans.

OCUFA has decided to hold all of its Board, Executive, and Committee meetings online until 2022.

CAUT censure of U of T

Board members unanimously voted to support the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ censure of the University of Toronto after it abruptly ended negotiations to hire Dr. Valentina Azarova as the Director of the university’s International Human Rights Program. OCUFA also encouraged its member associations to abide by the censure.

Election of 2021-22 OCUFA Executive

Congratulations to the newly elected OCUFA Executive who will take office on July 1, 2021.

Vice-President: Jennifer Sutton, Brescia Faculty Association
Chair of Board: Gyllian Phillips, Nipissing University Faculty Association

Gautam Das, Lakehead University Faculty Association
Kimberly Ellis-Hale, Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association
Kate Lawson, Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo

They will join incoming President Sue Wurtele (Trent University Faculty Association), Past-President Rahul Sapra (Ryerson Faculty Association), and Treasurer Mike Eklund (University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association).

Celebrating excellence in service and scholarship

During lunch, meeting participants celebrated the recipients of this year’s OCUFA Service Awards and Henry Mandelbaum Graduate Fellowships for Excellence in Social Sciences, Humanities, or Arts.

The 2020-21 Service Award recipients are Jeff Tennant, Cynthia Messenger, Herb Kunze, Paul Young, and Robert Hickey.

The 2021 Mandelbaum Graduate Fellowship Recipients are Amy Shawanda and Laura Paolini.

The next OCUFA Board of Directors Meeting and Annual General Meeting will be held in October 2021.

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