Mark Jones, Re QJ article on Faculty Board (13 December 2011)

As emailed to campus lists on 13 December 2011:

Dear Colleagues:

There is a revealing story just out in Queen’s Journal concerning Friday’s Faculty Board motion to rescind the BFA Freeze:

http://queensjournal.ca/story/2011-12-13/news/arts-and-science-faculty-odds-university-administr/

See especially:

“The fact that there was a majority is, in a sense, irrelevant because it is not in the authority of Faculty Board to rule in a resource issue,” Dean of Arts and Sciences Alistair MacLean said.

This is the first explicit assurance we have had, so far as I know, that the Deans of Arts and Science mean to disobey their own Faculty Board again (as they did in 2009).

This denies Faculty Board the functions that are specified in the Motion that it passed on 9 December, and puts very much in question whether the Deans will recognize any function of Faculty Board beyond the rubber-stamping of Administrative proposals.

See also this statement:

“This came up two or three years ago and the legal ruling is the same as Diane Kelly gave in Senate. The authority is not that of Faculty Board or Senate,” MacLean said.

Note that Dean MacLean explicitly poses Diane Kelly’s legal opinion as a “legal ruling.”  It is not a ruling but an opinion.

Queen’s needs to work out the contest of authorities by (a) admitting that this is an opinion on behalf of the managerial rights of the Board of Trustees in financial matters, (b) considering another opinion on behalf of the rights of Senate and the Faculty Boards to govern in academic matters, and (c) putting those opinions into dialogue with one another to decide how Queen’s financial and academic authorities can cooperate in matters that have both financial and academic dimensions.

Mark

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This entry was posted in BFA or Fine Arts, Cuts to Programs, Financial Constraints, Motions, Process. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Mark Jones, Re QJ article on Faculty Board (13 December 2011)

  1. Anonymous assistant prof. says:

    With regards to the issue of the respective authority and roles of senate and the board of trustees, etc., this might be of interest: http://chronicle.com/article/Few-Trustees-Challenge-Their/130099/

    • Benjamin Ginsberg writes: “University boards, which technically oversee the administrations, are generally not well prepared for the task. One recent study found that 40 percent of university trustees said they were not prepared for the job and 42 percent indicated that they spent less than five hours a month on board business. Many trustees served because of loyalty to their school and say they have ‘faith’ in its administration” (The Fall of the Faculty, p. 87).

      Part of the problem may also lie in the hermetic self-closure of the Board in relation to the University. Last year the QUFA president wrote a letter reporting on the percentage of courses taught by contract faculty, and was not allowed to send it to the Board. The Board’s emails are a well kept secret. Presumably they of all people should be interested in hearing about the state of the University from its students and faculty.

  2. Anon. assistant professor says:

    I think QUFA needs to starting thinking seriously about taking these issues of governance to court. Perhaps the CAUT could help fund a couple of challenges in different areas of the country to try to establish some sort of precedent. I’m no lawyer, so I might be completely offbase, but I imagine there might be a case to be made along the lines of some of the lawsuits dealing with matters of corporate governance and trying to hold executives etc. accountable. At the same time, CAUT and faculty associations should be lobbying the provincial government to investigate university governance with the goal of creating some sort of clarity. I myself would readily contribute $100 to such a cause: 300 faculty members x $100 = enough lawyering to get the university’s attention.
    Meanwhile, we need to work on ensuring Woolf is not reappointed.

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