Volume 28, No. 18 Editor: Mark Langer April, 1998

It is interesting that management has maintained silence regarding

President Van Loon's assertion that Carleton is forced to lay off tenured

faculty because "we did not have access to pension plan surpluses",

despite management receiving $17.725 million in surpluses from our pension

plan from July 1993 to September 1999.

Management's e-mail response to the last Communiqu‚ and Van Loon's press

release on the referendum are equally disturbing in terms of what might

generously be called the creative structuring of reality. In a statement

released to the press, Richard Van Loon said that "we do object to biased

information". So do we.


In its unsigned e-mail "UPDATE", management has stated that all possible

attempts have been made to transfer faculty from SLLCLS to other programs.

Management's assertion that all but seven out of twenty-eight faculty

threatened by program closures in SLLCLS and Physics programs will be

transferred, voluntarily separated or retired is carefully managed

misinformation. Dean Watson of Science, with a budget cut of $1.3 million

to make , achieved his goal without the involuntary layoff of a single

faculty members. Dean Jones, with a target reduction of only $857,000,

chose to do it largely by terminating the careers of seven SLLCLS faculty.

There were 19 faculty affected in SLLCLS -- 22 if you count Classics, as

management appears to be doing in their most recent "Update". Last fall,

management maintained that Classics was not a part of SLLCLS, thus

"cooking" the books in order to make it appear that SLLCLS was losing

money. CUASA has disputed these figures. But by management's comparative

figures, at least, if Classics had been included as part of SLLCLS, the

unit would be in a surplus position in the university's accounts. Whether

Classics is part of SLLCLS or not depends on whether it suits management's

argument or not at any given time.

If one tracks what has happened to the faculty that management alleges

were "accommodated", only 2 SLLCLS faculty have been transferred. Yet,

they would have us believe that none of the SLLCLS Seven can be

accommodated within cognate disciplines such as SLALS, English, French, or

the College of the Humanities.


In the referendum, an amazing 90.9% of voters supported the retention of

tenured faculty in the largest turnout for any vote ever held on campus.

President Van Loon dismisses the 3,000 referendum participants as not

representative of campus opinion. In his press release, Van Loon extols

the democratic virtues of Senate, stating that 46 of Senate's 71 members

are directly elected by faculty and students. Perhaps President Van Loon

needs to be reminded that many of these 46 run unopposed for their seats,

and the rest are elected by a group of voting participants whose numbers

are in the hundreds, not the thousands. We doubt that Richard Van Loon

would contest the vote of Senate to close programs on that count.


Van Loon characterized the referendum ballot as "obviously biased". Both

he and Conrad Winn based this judgement on the "preambles" to questions on

the ballot. Those who participated in the referendum are well aware that

the ballots had no preambles to the simple, one sentence questions.

Indeed, the referendum ballots had not even been printed at the time that

Winn presented his report on them to the President. Van Loon and Winn

made their allegations based on referendum campaign literature, not a


Was the Coalition Against Cuts partisan? It certainly was. So was the

report presented by management to Senate recommending the closure of

programs. Unlike management's submission of material to Senate, the

Coalition Against Cuts did not restrict the presentation of opposing

views. Indeed, as the articles in This Week at Carleton, the e-mails to

faculty, the press conferences, press releases and other communications

emanating from management demonstrate, management does not hesitate to

present the side of the argument that it sees fit. But when every

employee organization and the student government present their sides of an

issue, the result is dismissed as "biased".

By any reasonable standard, management has had ample opportunity to

present its views. CUASA and other groups on campus presented their


The issues were covered by internal and external media. The voters --

faculty, librarians, sessionals, teaching assistants, support staff and

students -- were not automatons programmed by one side or another.

They heard the debate and cast their votes on the issues. If management

respects the decision of Senate, it must also respect the decision taken

by campus stakeholders.


Critics have alleged that the questions on the ballot are "motherhood"

issues. We agree. Management's problem is that they are on the wrong

side of these questions. The layoff of tenured faculty is indeed such an

issue. Other universities have collective agreements that permit the

layoff of faculty due to program closure. Programs have been and are

being closed in other Ontario universities. But only Carleton is laying

off faculty.


Remember last fall when we were told that tenured faculty would have to be

terminated because of the gravity of the financial crisis? How grave is a

"financial crisis" if it can be solved by the dismissal of seven


Now that the money argument does not look too credible, management is

switching gears. Faculty are to be terminated because of the need for

"strategic reallocation".. Well, the SLLCLS Seven can be strategically

reallocated to cognate disciplines that are either booming or

understaffed, such as French, English, SLALS or the College of the


Management's response to this is to change their argument again.

Reading management's latest pronouncements, one would think that they are

compelled to lay off tenured faculty because of the clauses that they

earlier demanded two collective agreements ago. This reminds us of the

old definition of chutzpah -- a child who murders his parents and then

begs the mercy of the court because he is an orphan. To Richard Van Loon,

we point out that closure of programs does not force him to lay off

tenured faculty. If President Van Loon feels compelled to do so because

of the Collective Agreement, we publicly state that we are prepared to

extend the "no layoff" clause in the present agreement indefinitely.