Governance Committee

nuri t jazairi (nuri@YORKU.CA)
Sun, 17 Aug 1997 08:34:50 -0400 ()


Yesterday after I received the nomination message at
about 5:30 PM and the request for a nomination
statement, I prepared a couple of pages to go with
the ballot. As I was going to Email the statement to
Marla Chodak about 10:00 PM last night, I read her
message again and then realized that she asked only
for a 'brief (one paragraph) statement'. Accordingly, I
sent her only the introductory first paragraph of the
two-page statement I initially prepared. This two-page
statement and the brief statement I sent to Marla
Chodak last night, I am now posting on yufa-l after I
read David Bakan's nomination statement with which I am
in full agreement.

Nuri Jazairi

......................................................

In the last few months the issue of governance has attracted considerable
interest and debate at York. In recent years many of the rules and
decision-making processes in the Faculty of Arts have become a zero-sum
game in which there are victors and victims. This situation has
contributed to internal conflict within the University, with grave damage
to the functioning of the institution. I believe we should search instead
for a system of shared governance in which the rules of the game are
rational and beneficial to all of us, and above all to the Faculty and to
the University. In my view, the following are some of the considerations
such a system of shared governance should take into account.

1. The mission of the Faculty of Arts, like that of the University, is
largely defined by the work of its faculty in the two areas of teaching
and research. The Faculty can succeed in its mission and prosper only if
its policies are based on consensus within the Faculty. I therefore
believe all decisions bearing on the work of the faculty should be based
on a shared system of governance in which the ultimate authority rests
with the faculty.

2. This shared system of governance should be justified under the
collective agreement; and it should make all decisions and actions within
the Faculty accountable - accountable to the faculty and governing
councils, and not just to the appointed dean and his associates. We all
have obligations and rights towards the university and each other.
However, the strongest form of accountability exists where the faculty
takes a direct and active role in making decisions and protecting academic
standards and internal governance.

3. The new governance structures should incorporate collegial procedures
for the search for Dean and for department chairs and define their roles.
The Dean has a central role in the collegial process. But he (or she) is
not a free agent. It is his privilege and obligation to represent the
academic concerns and interests of the faculty before the university
administration. If the Dean disagrees with the faculty, then he must
explain his decisions and judgements to the Council and ask for an
interpretation of them under the Faculty system of collegial governance.
It is however difficult to see how the Dean can represent the faculty
unless he has their confidence.

4. Self-administration should be the main characteristic feature of
governance at the department/division level: the chair and all faculty
administrative positions should normally be filled for short periods after
which the faculty members return to their regular teaching and research
responsibilities; and all committee memberships should be rotated. The
department/division governance rules and procedures should be standardized
within the Faculty.

5.1 Faculty Council meetings have become infrequent and sparsely attended;
and often called to rubber stamp decisions already made elsewhere. The
Council - with membership in the hundreds - is too large to become the
effective supreme decision-making body of the Faculty. The governance
committee should consider this issue. The Council should remain the full
governing body, but perhaps there should be a new 'Council Exe' body of no
more than 25 members.
5.2 The governance committee should also consider the frequency of regular
Council meetings; the role of elected faculty senators in the debates and
decisions of the Senate; and the creation new Council committees including
two 'ways and means' committees, one a budget committee to ensure the
solvency of the Faculty and safeguard its assets, and the other a
committee on salaries, appointments, leaves, workload, and post-retirement
contracts; and a new committee on interdisciplinary studies and
cross-appointments and collaborative scholarship within the Faculty and
across the University.
5.3 In all Council elections, the faculty should be elected by faculty
members, and students should be elected by students.
5.4 At least once every three years, the Faculty Council should undertake
and publish a systematic review of its own effectiveness, and the Faculty
performance. This review should also be used to publicize the work of the
Council and of the Faculty, make sure that faculty and students understand
the issues, and to educate them on their rights and responsibilities.

6. The new governance structures should seek and guarantee fair and
equitable treatment for all, and eliminate all forms of inequalities and
discrimination. The Faculty policies on the employment and promotion of
women faculty and on eliminating gender-based salary differentials should
be entrenched in the new governance structures. The merit of putting these
policies in the governance structures is enforceability. Compliance with
and progress towards these policies as well as the University's own equity
policy and affirmative action plan should be annually assessed and
reported on the basis of accurate records of appointments and promotion,
age, qualifications and ranks and salaries. This annual public report
should contain the salaries of all faculty members in Arts classified by
sex, rank, qualification, age, year of appointment at York, years of
service, and such other relevant factors. All faculty salaries in Arts
should be made public.

7. The new governance structures should contain a provision requiring the
Faculty of Arts to provide assistance to all faculty members in any legal
action arising from alleged violations of the governance rules and
procedures of the Faculty and infringement of their rights within the
Faculty.

Nuri Jazairi
Economics.

August 14, 1997.

.......................................................

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 22:09:47 -0400 ()
From: nuri t jazairi <nuri@yorku.ca>
To: "Marla S. Chodak" <mchodak@yorku.ca>
Cc: nuri@yorku.ca
Subject: Re: Governance Committee

Marla,

The following is my 'brief (one paragraph) statement'.
I am also including it as 'Attchmnt' in Word7. Thanks.

Nuri

=======================================================

In the last few months the issue of governance has attracted considerable
interest and debate at York. In recent years many of the rules and
decision-making processes in the Faculty of Arts have become a zero-sum
game in which there are victors and victims. This situation has
contributed to internal conflict within the University, with grave damage
to the functioning of the institution. I believe we should search instead
for a system of shared governance in which the rules of the game are
rational and beneficial to all of us, and above all to the Faculty and to
the University. This shared system of governance should be justified under
the collective agreement; and it should make all decisions and actions
within the Faculty accountable - accountable to the faculty and governing
councils, and not just to the appointed dean and his associates.

Nuri Jazairi
Economics.

August 14, 1997.
======================================================