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Campus Notes

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Some of the most exciting thinking and doing in Canada is taking place at the country's colleges and universities, where young people of different backgrounds, interests and politics come together to debate and learn about our world. Campus Notes examines issues confronting higher education through our students, teachers, workers and graduates.

Open letter from SFU faculty in support of striking workers

| November 5, 2012

Open Letter on the SFU labour dispute:

We, the undersigned SFU faculty members, are in solidarity with the TSSU and CUPE in their struggle for better working conditions.  

The workers represented by TSSU and CUPE deserve a better deal -- they deserve better working conditions, they deserve a better wage, and they deserve more respect from their employer for the work they do.

And they deserve a real contract, having been without one for two years now.The campus unions' struggle, however, goes beyond their immediate bargaining demands. The primary mission of this public university -- to teach its students well -- is not accomplished only in the classroom. It is also accomplished by the example the university sets.  

The university should be an engaging and engaged intellectual environment, and a good and fair and decent place to work. But working conditions at SFU have been worsening for years. Wages have been frozen while workloads have risen.

The educational system is under increasing stress, from reduced faculty numbers to larger classes, from rapidly rising fees to streamlined academic programs.

Students are paying more for reduced programs, and graduate student workers are being paid less for doing more work. Everyone is told to "do more with less." But that is another word for austerity at SFU and in the university sector in BC at large.

The university administration is passing on the burden of austerity to its workers. While administrators raise their salaries at a rate faster than faculty and staff salaries, while resources are diverted to areas of the university that are not of direct benefit to its education mission, SFU's most vulnerable employees -- TAs, sessionals, contingent faculty and staff -- are being hit the hardest.

The TSSU and CUPE struggle is a struggle against this austerity. It is more than a demand for better wages for the unions' members; its aim is more than better working conditions.

Its aim is for a better university, a university worthy of being called a place of higher education. It is a demand for a university that is truly engaged in the world and that is a truly engaging place to work and teach and learn.

In other words, TSSU and CUPE's struggle is a struggle that concerns every member of the SFU community and we should all, wholeheartedly, support and engage in this struggle.

Signed,

Ian Angus, Professor, Department of Humanities
Yildiz Atasoy, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Sabine Bitter, Assistant Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts
John Bogardus, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
John Brohman, Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Enda Brophy, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Adrienne Burk, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Clint Burnham, Associate Professor, Department of English,
John Calvert, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Wendy Chan, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
lise Chenier, Associate Professor, Department of History
David Chariandy, Associate Professor, Department of English
Allyson Clay, Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts
Marjorie Griffin Cohen, Professor, Department of Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Stephen Collis, Associate Professor, Department of English
Dara Culhane, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Leith Davis, Professor, Department of English
Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities 
Jeff Derksen, Associate Professor, Department of English
Parin Dossa, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Daniel Dunford, Lecturer, Faculty of EducationMonica Escudero, Senior Lecturer, Spanish Language Program, Language TrainingInstitute
Michael Everton, Associate Professor, Department of English
Samir Gandesha, Associate Professor, Department of Humanities
Tom Grieve, Associate Professor, Department of English
Rick Gruneau, Professor, School of Communication
Peter Hall, Associate Professor, Urban Studies Program
Gary Harris, Senior Lecturer, School for the Contemporary Arts
Steven Hill, Assistant Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts
Meg Holden, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Geography
Christine Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Dany Lacombe, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Mark Leier, Professor, Department of History
Carolyn Lesjak, Associate Professor, Department of English
Michelle Levy, Associate Professor, Department of English
Margaret Linley, Associate Professor, Department of English
Sonia Luehrmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Sophie McCall, Associate Professor, Department of English
Eugene McCann, Professor, Department of Geography
Geoff Mann, Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Robert Menzies, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Marina Morrow, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Director, Centre for the Study of Gender, Social Inequities and Mental Health
Gerardo Otero, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Roxanne Panchasi, Associate Professor, Department of History
Cindy Patton, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Canada Research Chair
Christopher Pavsek, Associate Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts
Stacy Leigh Pigg, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Stuart R. Poynts, Assistant Professor, School of Communication
Elspeth Pratt, Lecturer, School for the Contemporary Arts
Deanna Reder, Assistant Professor, First Nations Studies and Department of English
Bernhard Riecke, Assistant Professor, School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Michael Schmitt, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Carl James Schwarz, Professor, Statistics and Actuarial Science
Jamie Scott, Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Faculty of Health Sciences
Eleanor Stebner, J. S. Woodsworth Chair, Department of Humanites
Paul Matthew St. Pierre, Professor, Department of English
Janet C. Sturgeon, Associate Professor, Department of Geography
Gary Teeple, Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Ann Travers, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Michele Valiquette, Senior Lecturer, Department of English
J. R. Welch, Associate Professor, Department of Archeology and School of Resource And Environmental Management 
Jin-me Yoon, Professor, School for the Contemporary Arts
Jerry Zaslove, Professor Emeritus, Departments of English and Humanities
Kirsten Zickfeld, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

 

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