Letter from the President

President’s message to York University community

TORONTO, December 18, 2008 — As we head into the traditional end of year holiday period, I want to emphasize to the broader York community how much I share everyone’s concern with the CUPE 3903 strike and the effect that it is having on all of us, particularly our students and their families.

 

In Ontario, labour unions have the right to strike for their demands, should a majority of their voting membership choose to do so. However, along with this right comes the obligation, which weighs on us all, to consider the effect of our actions, particularly upon those with whom we have no direct disagreement and who have been deprived of their voice and of their academic lives.

 

It is also incumbent on us to reach an agreement that is fair to the entire York community and sustainable in the long-term.

 

I understand that frustration has been mounting on many sides. This is why, twice in the past month, I and the entire senior executive of the University have attended two open Town Hall meetings – one as recently as last week – moderated by the Chair of Senate. The meetings were open to all community members and were expressly set up to give everyone a fair and equal voice in a civil and reasoned atmosphere.

 

As befits an academic institution, opinions were expressed from every side. The questions continued until everyone had had a chance to speak and then continued afterwards in one-on-one and smaller group discussions. This was the York community at its best.

 

As we enter the holiday period, the University’s bargaining team remains ready to meet with CUPE 3903 as soon as an indication is received through the mediator that it would be productive to do so. Although the University is officially closed, our senior executive and the bargaining team will remain in close contact on a daily basis.

 

The University is ready to return to the negotiating table at anytime over the break, as soon as it is clear that such a meeting with CUPE 3903 would be productive and move us toward a realistic settlement.

The University officially re-opens on January 5, 2009. It is my strong desire that significant progress is made over the holiday period so that we can begin 2009 on a more optimistic note.

 

Our first and most urgent priority is to get our students back in the classroom in short order.

 

I wish you and your families all the very best for the holiday season and I hope very much for a new start as soon as possible in January 2009.

 

Mamdouh Shoukri,

President and Vice-Chancellor

Source

 

Thank you Mr. President for including this in your letter,

“In Ontario, labour unions have the right to strike for their demands, should a majority of their voting membership choose to do so. However, along with this right comes the obligation, which weighs on us all, to consider the effect of our actions, particularly upon those with whom we have no direct disagreement and who have been deprived of their voice and of their academic lives.”

I appreciate it and I am sure many others do as well. 


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34 Comments

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34 responses to “Letter from the President

  1. dude

    President Shoukhri’s mom should transfer…

  2. MB

    I appreciate Shoukri’s comment, too.

    I didn’t know about any Town Hall meetings hosted by the Senate. When and where were these meetings announced?

  3. flushafleshfarm

    transfer? I didn’t even know her.

  4. Ridculous

    @MB

    I agree the town hall meetings were not communicated to anyone! Or if it was posted somewhere it is in an obscure location. I only found out because I attended the senate meeting. Next senate meeting is January 22, 2009 and if the strike is still on then it will also end in a town hall.

    I have since checked around including the YFS strike FAQ page (I will post the link below) really doesn’t inform us either about these town halls. The YFS is noteable and was worth checking since most (if not all) of their executives are student senators. But they are whole other matter..today someone told me health and dental is still open yet whenever I walk by their counter its closed and there are notices of which drop box to use. Gee, so its open well I’ll be d***med! Or do they mean the outsourced and contracted insurance company is still honoring our insurance claims and processing them? Same with voice mails that say they are closed why should I investigate furthur?

  5. Ridculous

    Link to senate meetings: http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/senate/meetings.htm

    Notice how there is no metion of a the meeting being followed by a town hall for the duration of the strike.

    Link to YFS FAQ page:
    http://yfs.ca/index.php?section_id=194 and if you are observant you will notice the link to this page: http://yfs.ca/index.php?section_id=201

  6. jacky

    so does that mean we have school starting on the 5th of jan?
    or its not sure yet? or they are jus sayin tthat if they can make the agreement it will be back on time 5th of jan?

  7. Yorkie

    Just keep up to date with the negociations over the break. If they do come up with an agreement over the holidays, then we would be starting on January the 5th. It all the depends on that and that alone.

  8. Chris

    “In Ontario, labour unions have the right to strike …However, along with this right comes the obligation, which weighs on us all, to consider the effect of our actions, particularly upon those with whom we have no direct disagreement and who have been deprived of their voice and of their academic lives.

    Well, if this obligations rests on all of Shoukri, then how come all you execs give yourselves raises while sayin there ain’t enough left for the TAs? Lol, this president is also basically encouraging the undergrads to take up their grievances on CUPE members, even though he notes that this responsilbility weighs on all of us….if it weighs on all of us, then why give us a stupid offer only to be refused and push us to a strike……personally, I would rather be in school, making money, than at home or on a freakin picket line….I dont want to strike, honestly, I’ve cried for the last two days, I can’t handcle it anymore, I want back in….but I know we have a reason and a right to strike, and that is Shoukri and his propaganda which is pitting undergrads against grad students!!!

  9. flushafleshfarm

    @ jacky

    It doesn’t mean anything. Shoukri is just giving us the appropriate shout-out for the holiday season.
    Notice he still took a job at CUPE.

  10. BFD

    Somebody who works for Shoukri is no-doubt reading this blog.
    Holy Smokes! We’re a hit! 😉

    Promises and kisses are fine and well received.

    We’d still like to see some positive action behind the concern for
    the welfare of others, that the President indicates in
    this letter.

    I can write a lot of different sentiments as well,
    it’s what I actually do about it that makes any real difference.
    (lol, at the irony of having written that sentiment on a blog)

    “I’m not satisfied, Everything I tried.
    I don’t like the way, Life has been abusing me.
    I’m not satisfied, I’m not satisfied.”
    FZ -rip-

  11. flushafleshfarm

    job = jab

  12. j

    I received an e-mail today with the “Revised Academic Remediation Plan” that was just released by the senate – which stated,

    “Unless there is a ratified settlement by January 3, it will not be possible to resume suspended
    classes on Monday, January 5”

  13. Marj

    what a surprise

  14. I hope I am wrong, but personally, I think anyone that thinks we are going back on Jan 5th in crazy. If we are lucky, we’ll be back mid Jan, if we are lucky.

  15. Marj

    so merry christmas…do you honestly expect us to believe that you will negotiate over the holiday season????

    I am having a tough time trying to get true answers…SOMEONE PLEASE TELL WHERE TO DIRECT MY REQUEST FOR FULL REIMBURSEMENT FOR 2008-2009..

  16. j

    The Executive Committee of Senate has revised a communication (Bulletin #6) on “Academic Remediation: Accommodations, Adjustments and Modifications” which contains important new and updated information.

    http://www.yorku.ca/secretariat/Strike2008/Bulletin%206%20UPDATED.pdf

  17. theowne

    I HAVE A QUESTION. How will our OSAP be affected by this strike? Let’s say the strike goes on really long, or even we lose a semester/year whatever, would you ever have to give back OSAP or anything like that?

  18. yorkstrike2008

    @theowne

    The year will not be cancelled. Could you imagine York refunding that much money and ruining its rep in one swing? Nope.

  19. Rebecca

    Yeah right. No one is budging. The University is waiting to see if after the holidays the TA’s will be worried about their job security and will give in. I seriously doubt talks will continue before Jan 5.

  20. theowne

    Okay, but in general do you think our OSAP would be affected by this?

  21. Pingback: Final “MASS RALLY” held on OUR CAMPUS! « Glenouvelles - Prince’s Communications Blog

  22. Andrew

    You probably will not get your OSAP till school continues as I doubt they will cross picket lines. OSAP is a government program, and I have never known a government program to cross a line.

    So basically, once the strike ends, you’ll probably hear things about getting OSAP. The only question is, do they wait till 2nd semester starts, or do they give it right when we get back. They probably should give it right when we get back as people will need it.

  23. SPACE ENGINEER "M.D."

    A story of what I did in the last 5 minutes and counting. [This clearly shows how much time I have on my hands.]

    As I logged onto the computer, opened my Internet browser and eagerly pressing away at the keys that lie before me. I was hoping to see some progress on the strike as I viewed the York website. I saw the letter from Mamdouh Shoukri, President and Vice-Chancellor. I thought it would be some good news. As I read the letter I agreed on a lot of the things he has stated in the letter. But, it was nothing new that I haven’t read or heard already. But, as I read on, the only sentence that actually caught my attention was, “The University officially re-opens on January 5, 2009”. I thought to myself, this is great finally “WE, the students” can go back and resume our studies. I was so delighted with what I saw when I read the letter the second time around. I realized it was nothing to really be delighted about. It wasn’t any real progress it was the same thing that I have heard and read once, twice, three times and counting. They were just letters put together to form a word. Those of which are put together with more words to form a sentence with a combination of more sentences to make a statement. Honestly, I was numb reading it the second time. Knowing, as I read along, it was nothing to be happy about. I’ve seen this before. A couple of times actually, I thought to myself. Where are they really going with this? Is this strike for money or power? Or both? You can’t have money without the power, and you can’t have power without the money. [I don’t remember where I got that line from. But, I’m sure it’s from a movie. But, I’m not sure what movie. Well that’s something to ponder about.]
    Now to be honest I’m kind of baffled by the president’s message to York University community:
    “The University officially re-opens on January 5, 2009.”
    Now, if I’m not mistaken this would mean the university is open on January the 5th. It states nothing about students resuming classes. Also, in the letter it states “I hope very much for a new start as soon as possible in January 2009”. Well, I’m just going to take a guess that the university will be open for students to use the facilities in the university on January the 5th. But not as to when we are going to resume our studies.
    Personally, what I want to know is, when do we go back to classes? When do we resume our education? Also, how will all of this affect “US, the students”? Will our reading-week be taken away? Our summer perhaps? Our “YEAR”!? “I can sit here and type all the questions that we want answered, but I’m not feeling up to it at the moment.”
    These are the questions I want to know. I’m sorry, what I meant to say is…These are the questions “WE” want to know! And a lot more!!!
    From that one student, among the other students that make-up York University.

    [I can sit and type all night. But, I’m going to go to a party which I’m already late for. But why not show up fashionably late, right?]
    (Excuse any grammar and spelling errors I’m too lazy to check and I’m already late. I feel like that rabbit that’s always late for something in Alice in Wonderland. “OH NO! I’m late, late, late, late…”)

  24. SPACE ENGINEER "M.D."

    I don’t see my letter.. aww.. and I spent a good 5 minutes on it too.. 😦

  25. Andy

    I was on campus in the first couple of weeks of the strike to pick up loan documents. They were from out of province, but everything at the office seemed to be working, despite the strike.

  26. Honestly, I’m getting tired of the “Administrators make a lot of money, so gimmie gimmie” argument. It’s nonsense. If you somehow managed to get the president, all the vice-presidents, and all the deans to work for free, it still wouldn’t pay for CUPE’s demands.

  27. Bobert

    its personally insulting to be work your way up to the position of dean or president to be told you’re being paid too much, what sort of garbage is that really? Many of these same people went through the same process, same debts, same payment levels (sure the rate of inflation may have hurt them less, but they did go through the same process as everyone else does).

    For shame union for shame, you complain about administrators budgets, but they don’t have the same day-to-day work as your members do

  28. F-Ed Up

    Andrew:

    I hate it when people ask this, but do you have a source for that speculation about OSAP? I’m not sure that anyone really needs to physically “cross” the picket lines, at least I hope not, in the days of online banking, virtual money, etc, etc. But I might be wrong about that. I’m just wondering because I’ll be right pissed if our OSAP isn’t released in January. York charged me my full tuition in September, those #$%&*s! ugh.

    Marj:

    If I were you, I’d address that query to Santa Claus.

  29. F-Ed Up

    Andrew:

    An answer to my question and your speculation about OSAP:

    www. yorku.ca/osfs/osap_trackingdocs.shtml

    (space has been added after the www. in order to facilitate speedy posting)

  30. Andrew

    F-Ed Up

    It is odd because my girlfriend last year was given her money right to her account, no signatures or anything. I had to go and actually sign documents and all that. I was also given a cheque for bursary, but I also did my OSAP loan part there. Could be a missed a check box, wasn’t a big deal.

    So yeah, looks like if you want it, you need to go get it. Might have to go then and hopefully skip the lines.

  31. F-Ed Up

    Yeah, it looks like you were right about them not wanting to theoretically “cross” the picket lines… they’re essentially making the students do that instead! But at least it will be available!

    I already made my appointment online… the 5th and 6th are already booked solid, so I recommend for anyone else out there to book an appointment soon. They’ll be more busy than usual for this time of year since we all need to heard in to campus to gets us our moneys lol

  32. MB

    @Space Engineer “M.D.”:

    You wrote: “Is this strike for money or power? Or both? You can’t have money without the power, and you can’t have power without the money. [I don’t remember where I got that line from. But, I’m sure it’s from a movie. But, I’m not sure what movie. Well that’s something to ponder about.]”

    You were thinking of Scarface: “In this country, first you get the money, then you get the power, THEN you get the women.”

  33. clennis

    “we’re all going to have to tighten our belts around here”
    heard it before, but shoukri won’t answer anyone’s emails about how he plans to bare the load proportionately.
    maybe they should take it from my $659/month.
    yikes.

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