York Chooses 50th Anniversary Celebrations over Classes

Solutions to end the York University Strike:
50,000 students more important than 50th Anniversary

Toronto As the contract faculty, teaching and research assistants strike at York University enters its fourth week, almost 50,000 undergraduate students are still unable to return to their classrooms. The York Federation of Students (YFS) is calling upon the York University Administration to immediately allocate a portion of the more than $ 160 million raised in the “York to the Power of 50” fundraising campaign in order to end the strike.

“The York Administration has repeatedly stated that there is no money to meet the demands of CUPE 3903,” stated Hamid Osman, YFS President. “We understand the need to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary, but during these tough times it’s more important to get 50,000 undergraduate students back into the classroom.”

The “York to the Power of 50” fundraising campaign had reportedly raised $160 million as of May 2008, towards its $200 million goal. The campaign has four main priorities: Chairs and Professorships; Scholarships, Awards, and Student Aid; Infrastructure; and Pioneering Programs and Research. CUPE 3903 members represent over half of the University’s teaching component and already fulfill many of the objectives of the 50thanniversary campaign.

“A reasonable solution to the strike is within reach; the University must prioritize its students over an anniversary party with specially branded York wine bottles and balloons,” said Osman. “The money to end the strike does exist. The York Administration must keep these dollars in mind and get back to the bargaining table so that students can get back to class.”

 

Pathetic. York HAS the money to end this. They just don’t want to spend it on conceding to the Union’s demands. Can anyone say ‘power struggle’? The University seems really interested in getting us back to classes.

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38 Comments

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38 responses to “York Chooses 50th Anniversary Celebrations over Classes

  1. blackflame28

    Yup.. that makes sense… let’s celebrate a school with no students. Did they forget in order to have a school they must have students??

  2. ram

    I dont want to comment on this… Because it is once in university’s lifetime.. I think york also has its own desires and priorities…I cannot take any stand at this point.. What does everyone feel?

  3. yorkstrike2008

    What does everyone feel?

    That having the University OPERATING during its 50th year trumps parties, honourary scholarships and ’50th Anniversary’ signs…

  4. Protest

    Honestly, YFS has really sunk to a new low. This demand is totally unwarranted and dangerously stupid. Despite the York wine bottles, I strongly disagree with the idea that money collected in the name of research need to be used to resolve the current situation. Not only will this create lasting damage to the student population in terms of less research opportunities, it will also hamper future fundraising when all of York’s donors realise that their money was not put to the intended use. I really think that is time YFS started looking at the long term interest of both York and its students and not just politics.

  5. I thought this blog was neutral.

    It doesn’t matter if the Admin has the money to end this strike, they can’t just give into every whining person that comes their way. I’m not siding with either parties, but to be realistic, you don’t just appease one side because you can.

    The Admin is going to do this the hard way, and besides, I think they’ve realized that December is a waste.

    Besides, just because they have that money doesn’t mean it’s not going to be used elsewhere. There are plenty of other areas within the school that could use the cash.

  6. F-Ed Up

    Whew… I think it’s a little more complicated than simply saying that the money should go towards settling the strike. Though I personally do believe that universities, in general, often waste away money on pomp and circumstance when that money can go to much better use, and that this is just another prime example.

    If anything, I think that this is a fairly reasonable couter-argument to the university’s claims about “tough times” – especially since many organizations have cancelled or toned-down various celebrations this year (meaning that there is precedent there for York to tone it down if times really are so tough for them).

  7. F-Ed Up

    @ myself

    (not saying that they should tone it down and allocate the rest of the dough to meeting union demands, however – I anticipate someone somehwere will read that into my statement but it wasn’t what I was suggesting)

  8. Students

    Honestly, this strike is getting ridiculous.

    The union keeps saying how York doesn’t care about the students and aren’t make any effort. That’s not right. They’ve been slowly making adjustments so that little by little, certain students can return to school. I think the union needs to lower its demands big time. We’re living in a really bad time in economy right now. Jobs are scarce and people are being laid off, and yet the union expects to get everything they want? Ridiculous.

  9. B

    Don’t think donors and benefactors gave YorkU this money to see it go to another cause. Hamid Osman just proves how much of an incompetent tool he is with this suggestion. YFS should remain neutral. They represent students; those striking TAs and those of us out of class because of this. Siding with the Union and throwing out ludicrous suggestions doesn’t help matters.

  10. B

    @yorkstrike your failing at keeping this strike neutral. Present the facts and stories that come about without commentary or else quit positing this as a neutral blog.

  11. I do believe that Union members threw parties (though not lavish) during their “struggles” in making the Admin see their problems. A party is a party.

  12. MR Two

    Is it really a surprise that universities funnel alot of their money into other “less important” tributaries…

  13. B

    MR Two – this was money raised for this specific thing. It wasn’t all money diverted from the budget or taken from your tuition. This was the result of a specific funding drive. It is also funding that is meant to create scholarships and bursaries ie. benefit undergrads. Osman is more or less suggesting continuing to screw over undergrads, the very people he is supposed to represent, in favour of 3903.

  14. MR Two

    My bad, kinda skimmed through it. In that case Osman is a flaming douche. Fundraiser money shouldn’t be considered part of the university’s budget IMO, as it relies on donations, not payment for service by University staff.

  15. Andrew

    That’s the big thing that needs to be reminded here. The people who gave money to York did not give to them to pay the CUPE members. Sorry to say, that money is off limits. If I gave York $10,000 for research and found my money was spent to give to CUPE, I’d ask for a return. It is like giving money to any other organization. If you found out the money was being spent on other things beside the cause, you would be pissed off as well.

    Plus as someone said, just because the money is there, does not mean they should be given it. If you give them $100million over two years from this research thing, then you are going to have to start coming up with $100million from here on out. Because you can be sure that CUPE will want the same contract the next time around.

    I’m a sports guy, so I think a lot in terms of say NHL contracts, and that the school is like an NHL team. They only have so much money to spend, and only so much cap space, yet need places filled. There is always a big thing in the NHL when a team gives a player more money then he is worth, because it starts a chain effect through the league. “Well so and so makes this much, and I am better then him, so I should make more”. Well same thing applies here. Other schools will strike if the deal CUPE gets is insane. And as it is right now, I’d laugh at what CUPE wants, but I don’t think that would represent how I feel about their demands.

    And yes, to the person running this site. It isn’t very difficult to post news on what is going on and keep your opinions to yourself. Considering also that your opinions lately has become extremely stupid and naive of the situation.

  16. Commuter

    @ Andrew

    I agree bud. The money should be off limits.

  17. What Andrew said. A couple of other points:

    – When the $160 mil runs out, what happens then?

    – And even if you’re looking for quick budget fixes, how about the $200 million deficit in the pension plan, thanks to the tanking stock market?

  18. @ Bill.

    Agreeable, I’m sure the University is thinking in the long term especially with current economic climates. The 7.5% of the budget that includes these people striking is, unfortunately, a small aspect when keeping a school of 50, 000+ open. This is a business, and there are plenty of people to consider when playing with such huge figures.

  19. Basil El-Salviti

    It’s time Osman stopped playing politics and began pressing both sides to enter the negotiation table. This money is given by donors who expect it to be put to other avenues – NOT to end this strike. This idea is completely pathetic to use fundraising dollars that were meant to be used for research and scholarship in order to settle a labour dispute….we have to respect the wish of the donors and use the money for its sole intention, even if that includes some glamourous party, that’s the intention of the donations! The donors know precisely where their money is going and for what purpose….

    Respect the integrity of the donation system. It’s as though people here in agreement with this would also support the idea that Barack Obama should have used his massive money to bail Clinton out of debt….that’s really irresponsible, and Obama didn’t do this because that money was raised solely for his campaign….NOTHING ELSE. He eventually devised a separate campaign to eliminate Hillary’s debt.

    Maybe that’s what the university ought to do. Have a separate campaign to end their labour dispute. The problem is, the money that is being asked could total to the hundreds of millions. It’s simply not possible.

    Osman, you should be responsible and side with your undergraduate constituency. Get these two competing bulls back to negotiations! And if that doesn’t work, why not play an integral role in ensuring that the integrity of your constituency’s education is not placed in jeopardy once this strike ends….that’s your role, do it.

  20. I think both the YFS and CUPE need to realize that money just doesn’t get thrown around, regardless of how much it is.

  21. Kelso

    I think the real thing that needs to happen is that CUPE needs to realistic with what they are asking for, $ wise anyway, because by the looks of things it could be a TOTAL repeat of 2001, and I did not sign up for that at all.

  22. This is eFFed

    argh! this strike is frustrating. both sides are playing for power now…like who’s the real deal here? the students are! without the student’s both of them wouldn’t exist. both of them try to sway us students into believing that they’re on our side. They aren’t it’s just political play. They don’t give a crap.

  23. ams

    wow, YFS gets stupider and stupider. why isn’t he impeached?

    that money is for something else, it is not for CUPE and people did not donate it for that.

    how about asking the guv for some money, since that what YFS does with the “lower tuition fees” campaign?

    I’d love to see him ask the guv put some money into education during this strike, rather than YU donors.

    also, i thot this website was neutral? how about avoiding propaganda?

  24. Basil El-Salviti

    @ ams

    yorkstrike2008 is only human. I assume that yorkstrike2008 has a personal bias, but that doesn’t mean that the site tries to be biased….I see the only bias here is that yorkstrike2008 favours something for the students!

  25. dcb

    ams,

    Let’s not avoid propaganda, let’s embrace it! Give me biased op-ed pieces, left-leaning union rants, administration press releases and picket line gossip. Neutrality is boring, have some fun, be adventurous! Enjoy the posturing, pandering and political maneuvering. You are a pawn ams, and it is your duty to accept your role as such. Allow yourself to be swayed by lofty rhetoric. Take a position and stick with it. Use your new found sense of purpose and belief in your cause to manufacture some Propaganda of your own.

  26. ams

    @ Basil, i totally agree. Sorry if it came across as I was blaming YS2008, but i feel that that piece was clearly propag.

    @dcb, i totally have mine, i don’t feel at all for the TA’s, i think contract fac should be a diff union, AND i feel that the YFS is insane. i want the pres impeached.

  27. @ ams

    So then we should be entitled to say whatever we want. At the end of the day, we’re using our “new found sense of purpose and belief in the cause of manufacturing some propaganda of our own.”

  28. F-Ed Up

    @ ams
    “I’d love to see him ask the guv put some money into education during this strike, rather than YU donors.”

    If that were possible, that could be the only real productive, long-lasting thing to come out of this whole situation. But it’s extremely unlikely, unfortunately. Large sigh.

  29. yorkstrike2008

    @Kavisolo

    This blog is neutral. I am simply pointing out a HUGE hypocracy. The University has been bantering about getting us all into classes and how the students at York’s main concern. Now we get this information that York has nearly $200 million in the bank that they have fundraised (aka not budgeted for University operations) and they won’t use it to get us back into class.

    I am sitting on the crux of an imaginary three point intersection of white picket fences not knowing which side to jump to. This is the equivalent of a rhino charging me to fall on the other side. In my eyes this has completely delegitimised the University’s position.

    This is still a neutral blog. But, it is first and foremost a space for education and opinion. If this was not a neutral blog I would have deleted your comment that I am responding to right now… 😉

    Paix mon ami

  30. student

    @yorkstrike – the hypocritical action here would be using that money for anything other then it’s intended purpose. The YFS has no place telling YorkU to use this money otherwise. This isn’t funding they have banked over the years from student tuition or budget. This is the result of specific funding drives. You might want to read up on this issue before pointing figures and accusing the admin.

    Also, neutrality is the unbiased presentation of the facts and issues at hand. Making a judgment call – an uniformed one at that – compromises that.

  31. @student

    “Also, neutrality is the unbiased presentation of the facts and issues at hand. Making a judgment call – an uniformed one at that – compromises that.”

    Thank you.

  32. MR Two

    @ student

    I agree 100%. This is not money that the TA’s/Profs earned through work… this is fundraiser money/donations that people gave to york FOR A SPECIFIC REASON. If I gave money to a foundation to help starving people in some third world country, and they decided to forward that money to cancer research, I’d still be angry. Not because I don’t think cancer research is important, but because that’s not where I wanted my money to go. If that’s where I wanted my money to go, I’d have given it there in the first place. Regardless of whether cancer research is arguably a good cause or not, I wouldn’t be giving money to that foundation ever again – who knows where they’ll put my money next time? It compromises the trust built between the University and its donors.

  33. Bobert

    We seem to be going in circles on this issue, the point is this money isn’t really York’s money to give away. Unlike tuition or government funding, it isn’t given for “services rendered”, its other peoples money and there’s a certain expectation for how it will be used and the university repays that generosity by acknowledging them accordingly. Not only is the YFS’s proposal to divert fundraising money to CUPE show a reckless lack of consideration to the general York community. It completely disrespects the donors who gave that money in the first place, and sets a bad precedent for future benefactors of the University.

    As for the allegation that the University is putting its anniversary ahead of its student interests, lets not forget that the University didn’t plan this anniversary overnight. These sort of complicated events takes months to arrange. To scale things down, or to cancel things at the last minute can be pretty costly in terms of rentals, and purchases required for all these things. I don’t think the cost of scrubbing this thing at the last minute is something we need right now, no matter what it costs.

    Contrary to what Mr. Osman would like us to believe its not all being spent on Signs and Wine Bottles, they state in their own press release that the goal of raising this money was for: “Chairs and Professorships; Scholarships, Awards, and
    Student Aid; Infrastructure; and Pioneering Programs and Research. ” At least that’s what I hope that’s what its being used for, (I’d be hard pressed to find a bottles of wine worth nearly 200 million dollars)

    The allegation that Administration is putting its anniversary ahead of its students is blatantly false, The donors who gave it to the University clearly intended it to benefit the community in the long term, not to fix a short 2-3 year term contract.

    When it comes down to things, its an issue between the union and the administration, lets not forget the administration had one other union contract to bargain with at the start of this strike and that one was settled rather quickly

  34. TA's Opinion

    I think some people might be barking up the wrong tree here.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/business/04harvard.html

    How much of that money do you think was “wisely invested” until it was time to build the buildings or whatever?

    Now, if you want to go after some real dollars, I’d suggest looking into the budgets of the Marketing and Communications Division – you know, the guys who convinced you to go to York with their ($6 an issue!) YorkU magazine and their subway media bombs?

    Maybe if it cut back on “branding” and “selling” the university’s reputation, it could afford to *earn* one the old fashioned way, by investing in its scholars and teachers.

  35. TA's Opinion

    I think some YFS people might be barking up the wrong tree here.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/04/business/04harvard.html

    How much of this fund has been “wisely invested” until it was time to build the buildings or whatever?

    Now, if you want to go after some real dollars, I’d suggest looking into the budgets of the Marketing and Communications Division – you know, the guys who convinced you to go to York with their ($6 an issue!) YorkU magazine and their subway media bombs?

    Maybe if it cut back on “branding” and “selling” the university’s reputation, it could afford to *earn* one the old fashioned way, by investing in its scholars and teachers.

  36. TA's Opinion

    I think some YFS people might be barking up the wrong tree here. Harvard announced today that it lost $4mil worth of endowments due to the crashing markets.

    How much of this fund do you think was “wisely invested” until it was time to build the buildings or whatever?

    Now, if you want to go after some real dollars, I’d suggest looking into the budgets of the Marketing and Communications Division – you know, the guys who convinced you to go to York with their ($6 an issue!) YorkU magazine and their subway media bombs?

    Maybe if it cut back on “branding” and “selling” the university’s reputation, it could afford to *earn* one the old fashioned way, by investing in its scholars and teachers.

  37. TA's Opinion

    Sorry, I meant 8 billion. Harvard’s missing 8 billion dollars that it had invested in the stock market.

  38. Dougie

    Sure, Osman you tool. Let’s plunder donations given for York’s 50th to end the strike that you have been protracting. That isn’t illegal at all. I hope that you are impeached you pathetic wretch.

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