Volume 28, No. 17 Editor: Mark Langer March, 1998

                          THE SLLCLS SEVEN

Remember when Richard Van Loon said that fifty-six faculty members would

have to walk the plank to save the university from financial ruin? Then

there was last fall's management assertion that axing twenty-six faculty

would keep Carleton from the abyss.

Management has come up with its latest demand. Seven tenured faculty from

SLLCLS are to lose their jobs. We have moved in the past six months from

hysteria about the need to save the university millions of dollars in

salary expenditures to the position where the institution of tenure is to

be seriously compromised to save Carleton $600,000 on an annual operating

budget of over $127,000,000.

There are a number of issues at stake here.


Programs were declared redundant by Senate in both the Faculty of Arts and

Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science. It is planned to keep or

transfer all faculty in redundant programs in the Faculty of Science.

Professors of theoretical physics will become professors of applied

physics or mathematics.

In the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, professors of continental

literatures, even those who have a record of publication in English and

French literature, are not deemed suitable candidates for transfer, even

in the face of specific requests from understaffed departments for their

services. FASS has departments in cognate disciplines with faculty who

are being denied early retirement. Management refuses to let these

faculty be replaced with qualified faculty from SLLCLS.


It is clear from management's position at the bargaining table that the

layoff of the SLLCLS Seven has little to do with a financial crisis. In

nos. 14 and 15 of the Communiqu‚, we have detailed how management

continues to divide faculty by linking "strategic" layoffs to the promise

of increased resources to other parts of the university. The proposals

offered by management in the current negotiations with CUASA (circulated

to members in the Negotiations Bulletins) are inconsistent with claims of

exigency. The compromising of tenure by the layoff of faculty for reasons

of redundancy is consistent with other current management demands, such as

the right unilaterally to suspend employees without pay, and a proposed

new merit award system which not only reduces the amount of money

available for merit awards, but gives the awards at the discretion of

individual deans, not an impartial committee. The removal of normal

tenure guarantees, as well as the use of extraordinary power to apply the

carrot and stick without due process, indicate that the issue is one of

increasing management's powers at the expense of participatory governance,

collegiality and due process.


If you still believe that the involuntary severance of faculty in SLLCLS

is caused by the university's need to address its financial problems,

consider the following chart. These are the figures given my management

in the 5 December 1997 report to Senate from SAPC/ARC to justify the

program closures. CUASA has always maintained that these figures, which

have been disputed by almost every program in the university, are suspect.

For example, almost 40% or $55 million of the university's costs

(administration, management, equipment, etc.) are not accounted for in the

figures used in this report. The figures do not balance the losses in

revenue resulting from the closure of a program against the "savings"

anticipated through the layoff of SLLCLS members. Nor do they take into

account the effect on recruitment resulting in a lack of public confidence

that Carleton can fulfil its commitments to incoming students in all


Nevertheless, these are management's figures, and decisions were made on

the basis of these numbers. We cannot wish them away or ignore them. Nor

should we help conceal the sketchy evidence used by planners of the

university's future.


As one can see, the gap between income and direct costs of SLLCLS was

relatively small. The alleged deficits in other university programs --

several far larger than SLLCLS -- are being managed through a variety of

recruitment and restructuring strategies. The results of these strategies

will become apparent over the next few years. Only in the case of the

SLLCLS Seven is it deemed desirable to terminate tenured faculty, rather

than to transfer them to understaffed cognate disciplines that generate

financial surpluses.


Perhaps you believe that the positions in SLLCLS must be cut as part of

the refocussing of the university on growth areas of employment.

Management has argued that to meet the demands of larger society Carleton

must move away from programs in the arts and social sciences or the pure

sciences, towards public affairs and the "high tech" world of applied

sciences. The SLLCLS Seven are to be sacrificed on the altar of that

social mandate. One of the reasons why CUASA does not endorse this plan

is the lack of empirical research done by management in support of its


CUASA members might be interested in a study by Marie Lavoie and Ross

Finnie, commissioned by Statistics Canada, which was reported in the 6

March Globe and Mail. Studying the employment records of recent university

graduates, Lavoie and Finnie made some discoveries that are unsettling in

light of Carleton's new academic plan. In this Statistics Canada study,

it was discovered that graduates of university programs in applied

sciences have unemployment rates ranging from 13% to 15% in the two years

after earning their first degree. Graduates of programs in pure sciences

have unemployment rates of 9% to 12% in the two years after earning their

first degree. The unemployment rate for social sciences and humanities

graduates was 10% in the two years after their first degree.

This information becomes even more important given the Harris government's

expressed intention to link university funding to the record of employment

that each institution's graduates demonstrate. In light of this, even if

one doesn't questions the wisdom of management's chosen path, doubts must

arise about the wisdom of burning bridges behind us. Given the fact that

the SLLCLS Seven can be redirected to productive work in other humanities

departments, one must also wonder why management insists on reducing

Carleton's intellectual capital and ability to redirect its efforts toward

instruction in areas that may be more productive in providing employable


These doubts are shared by your colleagues. On 9 March, the Advisory

Committee struck by Dean William Jones rescinded its earlier vote to

recommend the firing of tenured faculty in SLLCLS. What management is now

proceeding to do, it does in the face of unambiguous opposition from FASS

Faculty Board and the FASS Committee that Dean Jones himself selected.

So much for collegiality and self-governance at the "New Carleton".


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