Volume 28, No. 6
Editor: Mark Langer
November 21, 1997


No university in Canada has ever fired faculty for reasons of program redundancy. In a press conference held on Thursday, Nov. 20 to which no faculty were invited, Richard van Loon stated that "some 20 to 30 academic jobs" would be lost by means of program redundancy at Carleton. Van Loon then went on to name specific programs, although unauthorized to do so by Senate decision.

When a university is to take a drastic and unprecedented step, prudence would require several months of sober reflection and study of such an action's impact by Senate. A university is a complex organism in which constituent parts influence each other in both direct and subtle ways. What effect will the closure of one program have on the ability of other programs to have their students trained in languages or statistics? How will the loss of faculty through program closure affect the ability of other departments to find external examiners for their thesis boards? How will the lack of support from colleagues in cognate disciplines affect research? Vital questions such as these require extensive study and consultation with the entire university community before Senate reaches a decision.

Management has other plans. Management is strong-arming Senate into making "academic" decisions that are not driven by academic imperatives, but by financial ones. The programs to be affected by program closure had two business days to react to the data given to them by SAPC/ARC before they were to make a formal response. Senate itself would not receive all the information from Senate Executive until the closed meeting of 28 November. The decision is crucial to academic life at Carleton, yet the rushed consideration of this matter is to be hidden from scrutiny by the university community. This haste indicates management's contempt both for Senate and the entire collegial process at Carleton.

In the rush toward program redundancy and layoffs, CUASA members should keep in mind that these closures for so-called "academic reasons" are really being invoked for financial reasons.

Will these measures solve the university's financial problems?

Layoffs may eventually result in a small reduction to the university's budget, but the cost of buyouts will eliminate any savings for at least two years -- past the deadline set by the Board of Governors for a balanced budget. Even if the financial benefits of academic staff reductions were to be felt immediately, they would be just a couple of drops in the bucket, and not the solution to the university's financial situation.

Compared to these limited benefits are the consequences to Carleton of being the only university in Canada to fire tenured faculty for reasons of program redundancy. Censure from faculty associations and professional organizations across Canada and internationally would undoubtedly ensue. Firing tenured faculty would hardly enhance the institution's ability to hire the best and brightest at a time when faculty renewal is vital to our well-being.

If redundancy results in immediate program closure, students suddenly would find themselves without a program and without means to complete their degree. Transfer to other disciplines or other universities would become necessary. A slow phasing out would result in drastically limited options for students able to complete a bare-bones degree. In either case, Carleton's ability to assure students that the university will meet its commitments to them will suffer. In the competition for students with other institutions, will this enhance Carleton's reputation?

With such an obvious downside to faculty layoffs, why is management choosing this perilous course? Let's not fool ourselves. Layoffs are designed to divide academic staff and intimidate them into further concessions. This time, staff are divided into the "redundant" and the "non-redundant". In previous negotiations, management had indicated the next likely targets - lowering the floor for assistant professors, lowering the ceiling for associate professors, etc. And each time, we will be assured that only a small number of employees will be affected.

And let's not fool ourselves about the effect of faculty layoffs at Carleton during the mandate of the Harris government. On 20 November, Premier Harris was quoted in Hansard as saying that graduates of geography, sociology and the humanities "have very little hope of contributing to society in any meaningful way." One expects that Senate's decision will have the most profound effect on the institution of tenure and the structure of university faculties across the province.

In a Council meeting on Nov.21 CUASA Council unanimously approved the following motion: In order that the collegial and academic atmosphere on which the university depends not be undermined, that due process be respected and that sufficient time for a full examination and discussion of the closure of programs take place amongst all sectors of the university affected by these decisions, CUASA strongly urges Senate to postpone a decision on these matters until the new year.

CUASA urges its members to discuss these issues with the members of Senate. A list of Senators is attached to this newsletter.

For your convinience we have created a direct link so that you can mail the various senate members.

Paul Attallah 8484

Michael Brklacich 7553

G.R. Carmody 520-3890

J.W. Chinneck 520-5733

B.S. Elliott 7512

R.A. Goubran 520-5747

V. Kumar 520-2379

M.J. McDill 5710

R.J. Mesley (no email available) 2343

S.E. Mills 520-2199

B.C. Mortimer 2119

K.S. Andonian 2868

J.C. Armitage 520-4326

W.T. Darby (no email available) 2778

T.B. Dawson 3670

P.C. Emberley 8143

Lois Frankel 1879

C.C. Gordon 520-2603

A.M. Khan 5786

L.T.R. McDonald 2361

Simon Power 3764

J.W.V. Pringle 520-6612

M.W. Smith 520-2384

D.R. Thomas 4352

S. Dandamudi 520-2385

Linda Duxbury 2838

D. Saveland 8369

E.P. Fitzgerald 2838

A.M. Gillmor 3737

R.B. Lovejoy 2313

S. Robinson (no email available) 2172

P.L. Rosen (no email available) 2796

R.A. Shigeishi 1561

D.W. Smith (no email available) 2190

S.L. Sutherland 2294


G.S. Adam 520-3806

J.W. ApSimon 520-3570

R.C. Blockley 520-2518

M. de Leeuw 5678

J.B. Gianni 2861

W.D. Jones 520-2355

E. Kranakis 4330

A.M. Maslove 520-3741

H. Van Dyk

R.J. Van Loon 520-3801

P.J.S. Watson 4388

D.R. Watt 520-3804


C.H. Chan 520-5763

M. Foss 8260

CUASA Communique Vol. 28, No. 1/ CUASA/ Created November 23, 1997 / Last Modified November 25 1997 9:22 pm