Weekly Update – November 6

November 6, 2020

Weekly Update – November 6

CBC COVID-19 Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered our personal and professional lives, and the CUASA Collective Bargaining Committee (CBC) wishes to seek additional input from the membership.

The CBC has launched a new survey to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on CUASA members and to determine priorities for bargaining. The survey will run until Sunday, November 15.

Members can find the link to the survey in their email. Please note that this survey is meant only for CUASA bargaining unit members. We kindly ask that you please not share the link to the survey.

This survey follows the one that ran from January 30 to March 31, 2020. Members can find a link to the report on that survey in their email. Please do not share the link to this report.

Note: if you can’t find the link to the report or the survey in your email, please contact cuasa@cuasa.ca.

Carleton Community Updates

University Announcements

This week, Carleton announced that the Senate has approved the use of flexible grading options for undergraduate students in the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. Senate has approved that unsatisfactory (UNS) will replace any fail (F) grades in those terms. Senate has also approved the optional conversion of one 0.5 credit grade to satisfactory (SAT) for the Fall 2020 term only (extending this to the winter term may be considered later). For more details on this, click here.

The University also announced it is delaying the start date of the Winter 2021 term to Monday, January 11, as opposed to Wednesday, January 6. For more on this, click here. As part of this change, Carleton’s holiday closure has been extended. The University will be closed from Thursday, December 24 to Tuesday, January 5 inclusive, reopening on Wednesday, January 6. The virtual CUASA Office will also be closed over this period.

Remembrance Day Ceremony

Due to COVID-19, the University is not able to hold a live Remembrance Day ceremony this year. Instead, there will be a commemorative video posted on the Carleton home page on November 11 at 10:45 a.m. and will remain there throughout the day.

The ceremony features remarks from Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon, CUASA President Angelo Mingarelli, and several other members of the community.

Congratulations to CUPE 2424

CUASA extends congratulations to CUPE 2424 on the recent announcement that it has reached a tentative collective agreement with the University. 

“Doing My Best”

On October 15 CUASA launched its “Doing My Best” campaign to share the challenges our members have been facing due to the increased workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, Merridee Bujaki, Professor in the Sprott School of Business, shares how she’s doing her best… today:

“I did the bulk of my 2020 teaching in a condensed format in May/June. Teaching online from my home office, next to the kitchen, was a challenge with seven adults in the house, six of us negotiating for work-space in the house each day.  We don’t normally have seven in the house, but a son and daughter-in-law moved in temporarily between the end of their lease and moving into a new home, possession of which was delayed by the pandemic. We also had a daughter move home when her military training was paused and she was told to go to ‘a place of sanctuary’ – a nice way to think of home – though not always an apt description.

This Fall, life at home is more settled in many respects. We are down to three in the house, and this is a non-teaching term, but I find myself investing considerable time supporting family members – children, parents, and my spouse. Support for my adult children and their partners focuses on encouraging them to look after their mental health as most of them are working in settings known to be stressful – two teachers, two in the military, one a PhD student. On a day to day basis, I tend to prioritize interacting with them (and my own graduate students) depending on who seems to need the most encouragement on a particular day.

Support for my mother is more hands on. I am grocery shopper, driver, banker, socialization, and voice for my mother since a stroke in 2018 affected her speech and ability to drive. My husband had cancer-related surgery in October (postponed from March due to the pandemic) and is convalescing at home. He is due to return to teaching high school in December – which is a source of considerable concern, so the R-word – ‘retirement’ – comes up in regularly in our conversations. Indeed, my mother commented she knew I was feeling particularly stressed one day when I told her I had logged on to see what my pension would be if I were to retire now (the answer – not enough!).

Day to day life has challenges – but the pandemic has also offered opportunities to reflect, and I’ve come to some important insights along the way. What does ‘doing my best’ mean for me?

  1. Be patient – with myself and others (including be patient when I fail at being patient!)
  2. Be reasonable – I track my work hours and keep them reasonable – my records show my work is frequently interrupted, but the record also lets me know when enough is enough
  3. Be flexible – have a plan, but be prepared to adjust deadlines and adapt priorities
  4. Be grateful – I recognize the privileges I enjoy – which include, but are not limited to, a comfortable place to live, engaging work, health care, and a strong support system
  5. Be social – it is easy to feel isolated while working from home, so reach out to others who might need some contact or when you do
  6. Be compassionate – none of us really knows what circumstances others are facing on a daily basis, but we are all doing our best.”

If you want to be part of the campaign, please send videos, photos, or stories to Dawn by emailing equity@cuasa.ca. Each week, we’ll feature a different CUASA member and let them explain how they’re doing their best.

Statement on Detainment of Cihan Erdal

CUASA strongly condemns the detainment of Carleton PhD student, and CUPE 4600 member, Cihan Erdal in Turkey. A statement from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology says Cihan and 81 others, including academics, activists, and politicians, have been targeted because they are all signatories to a letter from six years ago calling for the Turkish government to step in to protect a Kurdish town from ISIS attacks, during a time when ISIS was quite active and many Kurds were being killed.

The department is encouraging people to demand the release of Cihan from detention and demand that the Canadian government consular offices support Cihan, who is a permanent resident of Canada. To see the full statement from SOAN, as well as contact information for the Embassy of Canada to Turkey, click here. To sign the petition in support of Cihan, click here.

You can read CUPE 4600’s statement here, CAUT’s statement here, and OCUFA’s statement here.

Letter from European Women in Mathematics on COVID-19 Impacts

Members of the Canadian Mathematical Society have endorsed a letter from the association for European Women in Mathematics that highlights the unequal burden placed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its various consequences, both direct and indirect, on groups within mathematics. The CMS has urged its members to read the letter and consider how to support those whose working conditions and career trajectories are most deeply affected by the pandemic. You can read the letter here.

1492 Land Back Lane

There is a land dispute at 1492 Land Back Lane in Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) territory in Caledonia, ON. The short version is that a developer purchased a parcel of land that has been Six Nations territory for over 235 years. You can read more about this in various articles in the CBC, the Toronto StarCTV News, the CCPA, and elsewhere.

An Ontario Supreme Court judge has ordered the spokesperson for the land reclamation group to pay on the order or $160K in legal fines to the housing developer and the local county. The developer is also suing the spokesperson for millions. There is a 1492 Land Back Lane GoFundMe campaign to assist with legal and other expenses. Faculty members wishing to donate may donate directly from the GoFundMe site.

CUASA Business and Events

Nominations for Steering Positions

We are still accepting nominations for the following Steering positions:

  • Communications Officer
  • Chair, Nominations and Elections
  • Chair, Internal Affairs

Information on the nominations process can be found on our How to Volunteer page. The work of the Association continues, despite the current environment we find ourselves in. Remember that our Association is only as strong as its membership, so we count on the time and commitment of our members to achieve our goals. Some of these positions come with a course release subject to the availability of funds.

Call for Volunteers

CUASA is seeking one member to volunteer on the University’s Professional Achievement Awards Committee. If you are interested, please contact cuasa@cuasa.ca.

We are seeking one CUASA member to serve on the Joint Committee on Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JCEE). Details on the mandate of this important committee can be found here. If you are interested in serving on the JCEE, please email cuasa@cuasa.ca.

We are also seeking CUASA members to serve on the Association’s internal Equity Committee. Please send an email to equity@cuasa.ca if you are interested.

Academic Community Updates

New video celebrates teaching award recipients

In a special new video, OCUFA celebrates this year’s Teaching and Academic Librarianship Award recipients, including CUASA Member Kim Hellemans, Instructor III and Chair of the Department of Neuroscience. To watch the video, click here.

Canada Christian College should be denied university status

In a letter to Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, the Ontario Universities and Colleges Coalition, of which OCUFA is a member, has raised concerns about the privatization of postsecondary education in Ontario and the government’s efforts to grant university status to the controversial Canada Christian College. You can read that letter here.

CUASA’s External Relations Officer, Raj Singh, also sent a letter to Minister Romano, which you can read here.

Last Call for OCUFA Survey on Impacts of COVID-19

This is the final call to complete an important survey being conducted by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on your work.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity, would you take a few minutes to complete the survey today? The survey will close at midnight tonight, November 6.

Findings will be used to inform policies and practices that can ameliorate the adverse impacts the pandemic is having on universities, faculty, staff, and students. The survey results will be vital for supporting political and public advocacy work on behalf of faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals at your institution and across Ontario.

The survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and the privacy and confidentiality of your responses are completely assured.

Please click on the link below to begin:


Future health of Ontario universities uncertain as government refuses to change course on funding

From OCUFA: “The future health of Ontario universities remains uncertain as the Ford government continues to erode university funding and refuses to change course on their reckless performance-based funding scheme.” Click here to keep reading.

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