April 13, 2015 – North Vancouver – The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) has continued to work hard over the weekend in order to better understand the positions of the University Administration (UA) and the Capilano Faculty Association (CFA), to ensure that the parties understand the impact that the ongoing labour dispute has on our members (i.e., the students of Capilano University), and to take whatever steps we can to minimize the impact of this situation of their academic careers.
The CSU invited both the UA and the CFA to an open forum on Monday, where students would be able to directly speak to representatives from both parties, and to ask questions, make comments, and express concerns. Unfortunately, the UA declined to participate, citing concerns about whether discussion about negotiations in an open forum could constitute an unfair labour practice. The CFA has not responded to the CSU’s invitation to attend the open forum.
The CSU has asked that student observers be allowed to attend the next mediation session between the UA and the CFA, to ensure that the discussions taking place, and the process, respect the interests and concerns of students.
The CSU will send an official statement to both the UA and the CFA, tonight, demanding that both parties come back to the table and resume collective bargaining immediately. The CSU requires both parties to resume discussions at once, and to conclude an agreement by Wednesday.
Final Exam Timeline
The CSU has expressed our members’ concerns to both the UA and the CFA, with respect to the altered schedule for final exams. We have already heard from a number of members who will face unreasonable hardship due to these last-minute changes. The CSU strongly opposes any further extension or alteration of the final exam schedule, due to the impact on our members, and an official statement to both the UA and the CFA will be issued this evening.
In response to a petition signed by over a thousand of our members, the CSU has also initiated discussions tonight with the UA and the CFA on whether final exams can be made optional for those students who are being impacted by the altered final exam schedule. We are preparing to make our case to senate (the highest academic decision-making body at the university), which currently has a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 21.
The CSU understands that many of our members may take issue with grades assigned at the end of this term, due to consequences of the strike – the inability to attend office hours, core course content not being delivered in advance of exams, or disrupted study schedules.
The CSU encourages any members who feel that they have been unfairly graded to get in touch with our advocacy service at [email protected]. The CSU can provide information about the university’s appeal policies and procedures, and help to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Navigating the Picket Line
The BC Labour Relations Board has issued an essential services order, setting out the reasons for which persons can come onto the campus without being considered to have “crossed the picket line.” Because this is an order of the Labour Relations Board, prompted by a university application for essential services, none of the parties have the authority to grant waivers.
Students should feel free to speak to faculty members and their supporters who are at the picket lines about their questions, comments, concerns and support. However, be aware that discussions at the picket line can become heated; the CSU reminds everyone to focus the conversation on facts and arguments, and not on the parties themselves.
Respect for the picket line, and decisions to cross the picket line, are a question of conscience for every member. If you do decide to cross the picket line, please be respectful of picketers and, if stopped or questioned, advise picketers that you are exercising your right to cross.
The CSU encourages members to continue to send questions, comments, or concerns via email message to [email protected], or to message us through the CSU’s Facebook or Twitter accounts. We also encourage members to send us correspondence that they would like forwarded to the UA, the CFA, and other interested parties on campus.
Role of Government
We have had a number of members asking about the role of government in the ongoing collective bargaining process between the UA and the CFA. The board of governors has a duty to comply with the annual government letter of expectations issued by the minister of advanced education. The university must also ensure that any agreement reached between the UA and the CFA is acceptable to both the Post-Secondary Employers’ Association (a public sector employers’ association consisting of special-purpose teaching university, college, and institute presidents, and government representatives), and the Public Sector Employers’ Council (consisting of government ministers, and representatives of each of the public sectors).