CUPE3902 Unit 1 Course Instructors Open Letter

March 23, 2015

We represent some of the 600 course instructors in CUPE 3902 Unit 1 who are entering the fourth week of our strike. We are also tuition-paying graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at the University of Toronto whose research and achievements contribute to the prestige of this institution.

This past weekend, our members voted to reject the Tentative Agreement put forward by the University of Toronto. We did so because we firmly believe in our struggle to improve the working and learning conditions in this university. This cannot be accomplished by one-time financial funds that must be fought over each time a contract expires. We need lasting structural change accompanied by language in our Collective Agreement that ensures that our members receive guaranteed funding and tuition relief. These structural changes mean more security for all of us and would begin to move the most vulnerable of us above the poverty line.

In spite of what communications from the University may have you believe, this has not been business as usual especially for those of us who teach one or more courses independently. We feel a deep and abiding commitment to our students, which has made this strike particularly difficult for us. For many of us, this is our initial experience doing what we love best: teaching undergraduates, sharing our research with them, and providing some of the most innovative thinking that this university will see.

We are at the frontlines of your education at the university. We have spent countless hours, often above and beyond our contractual ones, designing syllabi and assignments, writing lectures and class plans, grading assignments, and meeting with our students to provide one-on-one assistance with their work. We perform numerous unpaid duties such as providing reference letters for our students and mentoring support. We teach courses that range from large introductory lectures to small senior undergraduate seminars, providing the foundations of learning in each discipline and exposing students to the most recent developments in our fields.

We call on the University Administration to acknowledge our work and to dignify it by negotiating in good faith. We demand that the Administration not sacrifice the integrity of our courses by implementing “academic continuity” — a policy that would force syllabus changes onto our courses and weaken their pedagogical goals. We ask our students to come talk to us on the picket lines, and further to email the administration to express their views at president@utoronto.ca, provost@utoronto.ca, angela.hildyard@utoronto.ca.

We continue to be on strike for our students for this university and for the future of higher education in this country.

#WeAreUofT

Yours, in solidarity

  1. Tamer Abdulazim, Department of Civil Engineering
  2. Khalid Ahmed, African Studies
  3. Yadira Álvarez López, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  4. Yasmin Aly, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
  5. Tanya Battersby, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  6. Raluca Bejan, Faculty of Social Work
  7. Brigidda Bell, Department for the Study of Religion
  8. Ximena Berecochea, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  9. Justin A. Blum, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies
  10. Christin Bohnke, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
  11. Agnes Bolinska, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  12. Ian Brown, Department for the Study of Religion
  13. Mike Callaghan, Department of Anthropology and Health Studies, UTSC
  14. Sandy Carpenter, Department of History
  15. Joanna Chociej, Department of Linguistics
  16. Jessica Copley, Centre for Comparative Literature
  17. Willie Costello, Department of Philosophy
  18. Ailis Cournane, Department of Linguistics
  19. Alex Cushing, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, UTSC
  20. Nicole Daniel, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, UTSC
  21. Derek Denis, Department of Linguistics
  22. Hélène Desgagnés, Department of Economics
  23. Philip Dickinson, Department of English
  24. L. Elizabeth Doyle, Department of Anthropology
  25. Ruth D’Souza, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
  26. Sophia Fantus, Faculty of Social Work
  27. Yaniv Feller, Department for the Study of Religion
  28. Amy Elizabeth Fisher, Department for the Study of Religion
  29. Amy Marie Fisher, Department for the Study of Religion
  30. Lia Frederiksen, Department of Geography and Planning
  31. Caitlin Gaffney, Department of French
  32. Kathleen Gaudet, Italian Studies
  33. Alejandra Gonzalez Jimenez, Department of Anthropology
  34. Bethany Good, Faculty of Social Work
  35. Joanne Granata, Department of Italian Studies
  36. Dara Greaves, Department of English
  37. Elissa Gurman, Department of English
  38. Erin Hamlyn, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  39. Maggie Hennefeld, Cinema Studies
  40. Letitia Henville, Department of English
  41. Margaret Herrick, Department of English
  42. Marketa Russell Holtebrinck, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
  43. Tyler Holden, Department of Mathematics
  44. Alex Howard, Department of English
  45. Lesley Howse, Department of Anthropology, UTM
  46. Amy Huras, Department of Historical Studies, UTM
  47. Elizabeth Jewett, Department of History
  48. Samantha Joel, Department of Psychology
  49. Stefanie Kennedy, Department of History, Caribbean Studies (New College)
  50. Lauren Kepkiewicz, Department of Geography & Planning
  51. Dena Khamseh, Germanic Languages and Literatures
  52. Ivan Khatchatourian, Department of Mathematics
  53. ‪Elizabeth Klaiber, Department for the Study of Religion
  54. Sarah Lynn Kleeb, Department for the Study of Religion; Arts, Culture, Media (UTSC)
  55. Patricia Kmiec, Department of Historical Studies UTM; Equity Studies Program,New College.
  56. Sasha Kovacs, Arts, Culture and Media, TAPS, UTSC
  57. Pradeep Kumar, Faculty of Forestry
  58. Jean-William P. Laliberté, Department of Economics
  59. Jessie Lamontagne, Department of Economics
  60. Benjamin Landsee, Department of History, Caribbean Studies (New College)
  61. Barbara Lee, Faculty of Social Work
  62. Noam Lemish, Faculty of Music
  63. Joanne Leow, Department of English
  64. Melissa Levin, Department of Political Science; African Studies, New College
  65. Corey Lewis, Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
  66. Naomi Lightman, Department of Sociology
  67. Brett Lintott, Department of History
  68. Noam Lior, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies
  69. Jennifer Ma, Faculty of Social Work
  70. Timothy Makori, Department of Anthropology
  71. Rachel McArthur, Department of English
  72. Justin McNeil, Department of Psychology
  73. Meï-Lan Mamode, Department of French
  74. Natalie Mathieson, Cinema Studies Institute
  75. Meaghan Marian, Historical Studies, UTM
  76. Arie Molema, Department of Anthropology
  77. Janet Mowat, Department of Classics
  78. Katie Mullins, Department of English
  79. Angelo Muredda, Department of English
  80. Olga Nedvyga, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  81. Kristina Nikolova, Faculty of Social Work
  82. James Nugent, Department of Geography & Planning
  83. Jennifer O’Kell, Department of English
  84. Lara Okihiro, Department of English
  85. Gang Pan, Department of East Asian Studies
  86. Elizabeth Parke, Arts Media Culture, UTSC/ Department of Visual Studies, UTM
  87. Elizabeth Patitsas, Department of Computer Science
  88. Lara Pehar, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
  89. Erin Piotrowski, Department of English
  90. Benjamin Pottruff, Department of History
  91. Kristopher Poulin-Thibault, Department of French
  92. Emily Reid-Musson, Department of Geography & Program in Planning
  93. Luiz Felipe Ribeiro, Department for the Study of Religion
  94. Kathleen Rice, Department of Anthropology
  95. Luke Roelofs, Department of Philosophy
  96. Colin Rose, Department of History
  97. Rana Roy, Faculty of Forestry
  98. Marketa Russell Holtebrinck, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
  99. Marie-Jolie Rwigema, Faculty of Social Work
  100. Noa Shaindlinger, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
  101. Vasuki Shanmuganathan, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
  102. Laura Sikstrom, Department of Anthropology
  103. Cassandra Silver, Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies
  104. Christopher Spahr, Department of Linguistics
  105. Tracy L. Spurrier, Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, CI at UTSC in Department of Historical and Cultural Studies
  106. Travis Steffens, Department of Anthropology
  107. Justin B. Stein, Department for the Study of Religion
  108. Sarah Tarshis, Faculty of Social Work
  109. Elisa Tersigni, Department of English
  110. Alex Tevlin, Department of Chemistry
  111. Christine Tewfik, Department of Economics
  112. Sarah Tracy, Department of History
  113. Morgan Vanek, Department of English
  114. Nicola Vohringer, Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures
  115. Elizabeth Watkins, Department of English
  116. Sundhya Walther, Department of English
  117. Jude Welburn, Department of English
  118. Ruth Wilson, Faculty of Social Work
  119. Dave Wilton, Department of English
  120. Tzemah Yoreh, Department for the Study of Religion

(To add your name, please email joanneleow (at) gmail (dot) com )

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