Nuri's rebuke, re governance

David Bakan (
Wed, 10 Dec 1997 11:43:10 -0500 (EST)

Nuri addressed the following to me:

>By the way how come you seem to be keeping quiet
>on Faculty of Arts governance committee of which
>I thought you are a member?
Let me reply as follows:


You are right to rebuke me for inactivity in connection with the Faculty of
Arts committee on governance.

Several things. And perhaps you can give some advice.

I have been a bit under the weather. But that is only part of it. The
committee is moving on some meetings. The committee has met with the
chairpersons, but I was not able to be with them. The committee will be
meeting with Harry Arthurs. I look forward to that.

I conceived of this thing largely as a research and educational operation.
We have asked for resources, but they have not been forthcoming.

I conceive of three areas: Appropriations promotions and appointments, and
assignment of duties, or operations., in that order of importance.[ The
project of the committee in my opinion has to extend beyond the Arts Council.]

I confess to feeling stumped in my own thinking about the further direction.

As I see it, the major problem of this university is that good money is
misdirected away from the primary thing it gets money for, the support of
faculty. In a way, every consideration is secondary to that. As Hillel
said, "All the rest is commentary."

The gold standard of a university has always been and always will be a
reasonably sized class with a scholar of some distinction who gives of his
or her time and attention in an atmosphere of academic freedom.

York can compete with the world in providing this, given its resources. It
will flop if it tries to compete in distance learning, research parks,
contract research, renting and sale of properties, investments and so on.
But like those animals heading compulsively to their death, York's
administration moves in such directions. At York University, while the
income has really not faltered in spite of the cuts by the province--as is
clear from the audited statements--the money has been misdirected, and
continues to be misdirected.

The faculty has virtually no input in budgetting. That, in my opinion, is
the major "governance" issue. How the budgetting actually takes place is
the major research question relevant to the governance issue.

At York University engaging the faculty in inconsequential politics has
served as a way of distracting them from what is really important. I don't
want that to happen with this committee.

Give me your thoughts.