RRUFA minutes -May 2017

RRUFA 2017 May Monthly Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2017
Centre for Dialogue, LIC

1. Call to order at 12:02 pm (President Kenneth Christie)
2. Approval of April Monthly Meeting minutes:
3. New Business:
3.1 Innovative Undergraduate Program (Tony not present)
3.2. CAUT Council (Ken)
4. Previous Business:
5. Regular Reports: Reports from:
5.1 Bargaining Team (Ken)
5.2 Finance Committee (Jo)
5.2 Board of Governor’s Report (Charles)
5.3 Academic Council (Virginia)
5.4 CUFA-BC Conference (Ken)
5.5 Social Committee (Jenn)
5.4 Grievance Committee (Tamara)
5.5 Health & Safety Committee
5.6 Other: Workload Unit Committee (WLU) (Virginia)
5.8 Other: Special Guest: RRU VP and CFO: Cheryl Eason
6.0 Adjourn Meeting
Appendix A: RRUFA 2017 Executive:

1. Call to order at 12:02 pm (President Kenneth Christie)

2. Approval of April Monthly Meeting minutes:
Moved by Niels; seconded by Virginia
With one correction (spelling of Zhen Yi’s name) Approved.

3. New Business:
3.1 Innovative Undergraduate Program (Tony not present)
3.2. CAUT Council (Ken)
Ken attended CAUT Council (May 4-7) in Westin Hotel Ottawa. Key topics: Travel to US in this time of Trump – rights and responsibilities; Academic Freedom; electing Executive.
Keynote speaker: Yves Gingras, Canada Research Chair. uses and abuses of research evaluation…

Hooma Hodfar Iranian-Canadian academic… Gave terrific speech to standing ovation…
Passed censure against university administration when behaving badly… No university wants to be censured… Carleton U – half of people at CAUT and just over half did not want this to go forward, just wanting the threat to go forward…
Ken: what good is a threat when nothing is put into practice.
CAUT also running a campaign on Confronting Climate Change on Campus

Q: Any budding issues we should be aware about at CAUT?
Ken: CAUT’s internal staff Union – went on strike against CAUT. Part of it was about compassionate leave… Strike went on for several months – it is over now…

Q: grievance was around what?

Ken: COPE strike was about working conditions…

Ken: Budget implications of going to CAUT meeting: I try to do this as cheaply as possible…WestIn Ottawa is CAUT’s hotel… But Ken stays in a cheaper hotel… FA subsidizing $280 dollars for hotel – CAUT pays for the other half…

4. Previous Business:
(None for this meeting)

5. Regular Reports: Reports from:
5.1 Bargaining Team (Ken)
Wendy: we are stalled! We were about to sign an MOU and use a faculty database. Wendy received an email Friday – “do we need database? Can we not just use pie charts?”…

Ken: The Administration wanted to have an exclusion order – that individual faculty members could then opt out of having the FA receive their information… Pedro sent an email – people could then have letters of employment excluded from agreement… This is unprecedented. Every single FA in Canada has access to this information. The people at CAUT look at me with ‘What is wrong with those people at RRU!’ This is part of the Labour Relations Code. Pedro sent an email when we were on the cusp of signing an MOU, and after we had compromised on having the letters of appointment excluded from the process. We did it in the spirit of getting everything else. I got an email on Thursday from Pedro with questions – It was his understanding we only have one librarian who is a RRUFA member; “how will we guarantee privacy? Under Pedro’s logic, the Administration could therefore then only share info when we have more librarians.”??? How do you protect the privacy of any member in that sense? They have information but we don’t….

Q: What is the reluctance – is this a privacy matter?

Ken: Yes. They have apparently done a report on this but have not shared this with us. The BC Labour Relations Board says we are entitled to this information in order to function as a certified trade / labour union… That is our right. Every other FA has this information from its Employer.

[Niels: The relevant Regulation would seem to be an implication of the Labour Relations Code related to voting within the FA. This is found here: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/7_93#section5
Duties of employers, employees and trade unions
10 Every employer, employee and trade union involved or having an interest in the outcome of the vote must cooperate with the returning officer and deputy returning officer and comply with any direction validly given by either of them, including a direction to the employer to supply information and records and to make available the use of facilities owned by the employer.]
Wendy: We are a legal entity with a right to this data and would protect this data in the same way that the HR department would protect this information… We might have to establish some protocols around how to handle this information, but the Admin’s stance does not recognize our role in having information on its members, in the same way the Employer has information on its members.

Q: what are our explicit guidelines around sharing info…

Wendy: We should establish guidelines for handling sensitive data / faculty information. We have argued for some time that we need to have an office – and would need a locked file cabinet…

Member: we don’t have guidelines around how we handle this.

Wendy: we have had discussions; As Chief Negotiator, Wendy is the only person who would have access to this information…. They are not concerned with that issue.

Member: if we could articulate how we handle this data, then it would seem reasonable for us to move to the next step…

Ken: But, the Administration has not asked us for protocols or security.

Member: We could articulate our ability to manage data privacy…

Wendy: Their position is that for RRUFA to have access at all is a violation of privacy. We used to have this database; I used this for analysis purposes, and we are no longer able to access this information.

Member: as an FA we should be articulating how we work ethically with this information.

Member: Why don’t we create this such a data management policy – then we would have a better position with the Labour Relations Board if we have a privacy protocol…

Member: what does CUPE have?

Ken: Most FAs have staff and offices and an Executive Director. Part of the problem is that we have no office or even a lock. They have said they can give us a filing cabinet with a key…

Wendy: this might help us argue for an office. We don’t have any stipulation for where we should store documents… We don’t have anything in common beyond the university’s O drive/Z drive that we could make pass-word protected. But Employer can look at your emails at any time.

Niels: FA minutes are kept on the FA website. (CAUT server) We could create a firewall on the RRUFA website to make this even more private than for members.

Member: It may be they don’t care, but we could then create an FA data privacy policy and call the Administration’s bluff, if privacy is a key issue…

Ken: I have sent a strongly worded email to Pedro – that we will take legal action if don’t get this information. After 2.5 years of trying to get this information, they talk about “congeniality” … there is nothing congenial about this.

Member: this seems a lot like “censure” at CAUT – threatening but no action.;

Wendy: Constant questions come up about gender equity. Without this database of member information – we can’t confirm or deny anything we ask for. We do not need nor have we asked for names to be attached to the information, but we need to be able to do analysis…

Member: but even in some cases without a name this can be obvious. What do you need from us?

Ken: We need our member’s support that they are willing to give us their information. I would like moral support that we have everyone behind us before we can take this forward,

Member: Perhaps we should set up a poll to ascertain member support?

Member: Steps would seem to be:
1.indicating a shared understanding that privacy is a concern;
2.That we have done a number of steps around data privacy to address this concern.
3.Then we can move forward…

Wendy: Some members would like us to drop this concern. This is why we have dropped our request for letters of appointment… We could create a sub-committee to create a privacy policy… If people are anxious about this.

Member: Nothing about what I have said is about dropping this concern. it would help if we had privacy piece in place, but sad that we can’t do gender analysis;

Member: it is more than symbolic but data privacy needs to be in place…

Member: I have a concern with polling – the challenge will be that if you ask for support and people object that can be used against us moving forward with this… If the Labour Board says we have legal access to this – then this is what it is… Argue against polling in that this can undermine our position. Let’s put privacy and confidentiality considerations into place – so we have done due diligence.

Member: if RRUFA has a legal right to this information; then a poll is irrelevant…

Member: don’t want to raise this as an issue to be voted on…

Wendy: Only being used for the membership. everyone is benefitting from the analysis of the data we have done in the past. For example, we have the benefit of sabbatical

Motion (Movement?): Moved that we create a process and policy around handling data.
Moved: Robin Second: Todd
All in favour.

Ken: We need a small Sub-Committee:

Robin & Jaigris agreed to be the Committee!
(Wendy might be exofficio on committee since she has handled this data previously)
With Congress in June, it will not be possible to have ready for June.

Robin: Why don’t we say that before we have data we will have a policy, and we will have this by July: draft…

Ken: Moved: If we do not receive any positive outcome on receipt of data, we will take legal action.

Question: what would the cost of this be?

Ken: I would say we are talking about $10-20,000. A chunk of our budget, but we may be able to get help from CAUT…

Question: What is the time frame for this?

Ken: I have already sent Pedro an email and would like to see what Pedro’s response is to this…

Member: Should we not see whether all Member support legal action? It might backfire if not all of our members support this.

Member: that creates a problem, too. If we ask people to support this, when this is a legal right for the FA to have this info… Maybe this is a separate issue.

Wendy: As Chief Barganining Officer – I use this information to negotiate – it is not information that goes to all members. If we are saying no, no, no, then we have our hands tied behind our backs in working with the Administration. This is data…

Member: We might have alternate ways to calculate our costs… if we want to have faculty salaries we can calculate from dues. If we want to calculate budget, from FSAS presentation we can see how much budget we have for faculty salaries…

Ken: That is not the point; we are entitled to this data…

Member: What kind of information do we need to have to reduce divisiveness; are there other ways to get this data. Communication with members is good, but we don’t need to get their approval…

Member: How about having the Executive get together to explain to membership about why we need to do this. We are powerless if we don’t have this information. We have tried to be congenial and collaborative for over two years, and if then members don’t agree with this, then we are in serious difficulty…

[A movement interruptus – as special guest, Chief Financial Officer, Cheryl Eason, enters the room. We are taking a break…
[Note: no seconder for Ken’s motion]

Special Guest: VP and CFO, Cheryl Eason.

I have been here at RRU for 10 weeks and 2 years. Cheryl did her MBA at RRU in 2011 – great to be back. Originally from Winnipeg – public and private sector… Gov’t – Air Svces, land management; sea – flood of century in 1997 in Winnipeg…I am watching the news on what is happeingin in the floods in Quebec – will have mould to deal with… Flood way in Winnipeg – we had to tear down 200 homes because of mould.
Then – City of Winnipeg – then provincial crown Corp for lotteries… Then Pension Corporation – interested in Victoria – decided to come out – 3 years. Wanted to do MBA – wanted to do for myself – had been
exec /CFO for two or three organizations at that point. This was one of best things I did… Older than avg. students – but an amazing experience… that probably helped me when US search firm came – for CALPERS (California Public Retirement system) – 320 Billion in assets and 1.8 million members. 2nd highest healthcare program – “we serve those who serve California”… 4.5 years. 1st CFO for CALPERS in its 82 year history… Being Canadian – and understanding politics – pensions and healthcare. Environement in US a challenge. The US looks to Canada plans… There were actually three Canadians on Executive at CALPERS…If we could only get a few more Canadians…

Opportunity – at RRU. Time to come home… We had always planned to come back. I am pleased to be here…

Ken: Thank you for joining us… Does this seem like small fry coming here?

Cheryl: Funny you should say that. We did pension Corporation for 4-5 plans… Round off decimal places..Question I was asked in US: What struck me as different between Canada and US? Not government – same issues exist in CA. How do we ensure pension fund – fiduciary responsibility to invest funds and to administer plan – How do we provide the best value for money? Much more difficulty – governance for pension plans and divestment issues come up. While board has fiduciary responsibility to come up with 7.5% discount rate – over long period. – difficult discussion with board. Best return or invest in particular funds? For example, should we take money out of guns, tobacco, fossil fuels… The board – had fiduciary responsibility to continue to influence these issues from the inside rather than outside if on the board on these industries… CALPERS did divest out of tobacco… Fascinating from this perspective… Pension plans are more autonomous in Canada… Most Canadian Pension Plans were in crown corporations. Gov Brown sent nasty letters to top CALPERS board members… Everything was televised… Because of Open Meeting Act – we had to brief board members separately… Could not know decisions in advance. Could not lobby in any way… Eventually you forgot about the cameras…As they liked to call it, “test time.”

Ken: my only experience was chaining myself to the office of S. Florida State to get them to divest from S. Africa – 3 days they did so; the chains worked!

Wendy: What do you see as primary issues CFO needs to address in higher Ed…

Cheryl: Good Question. You will hear a little more about this in the Campus conversation tomorrow – basis for 5-year plan… On Day 2, Dan handed me the 17 /18 operating plan…and on day 14 I was presenting this to the board. The MBA helped me learn how to do assignments quickly and effectively… Part of the job is understanding what levers you have… you must be aware of constraints around tuition increases (2%)… Interesting to me in respect to where International study programs have gone… Interesting to see that when you have constraints on domestic side, what can you do on international study side…. Did 3 week Grenoble course. Of 25 who were there, only 2-3 from RRU. Represented 25 countries…. Just not going to get that unless you have an opportunity… An international program has merit. We need to continue to look at this for future… Opportunity in our 5-year plan: at a point as a university where we make decisions – who/what are we going to be in next 5 years? What does that look like? Helpful was all the plans already in motion – such as the ET/IT plan – we need to look farther out – we have 17/18 as a base and then what do the next 4 years look like? Bringing in, and reviewing the assumptions that were part of the 17/18 Plan.

Pensions are all about demographics… 1.2 active members here in BC to every retiree. In CALPERS we had 4-5 for every retiree… [Amounts receivable figure on tape]. Demographics were always top of mind. That would be same in education… Needs and education – how to fill void in marketplace… Not unlike Gov’t or private sector – there are challenges of continuing to look are revenue opportunities to be able to grow and diversify programs – There is a lot of competition out there… In 2008/9, when I started my search, I wanted flexibility. Could not take time off from career –RRU allowed me to do this degree without taking time off of my work. Lot more choice today. How to differentiate ourselves in marketplace…

Ken: Could you say something about the RRU business model? There are quite a few universities that are not in good financial shape. Are we?

Cheryl: yes. When you consider 1995 as founding – We are a relatively young university . Challenges other universities don’t have – we have a historical perspective that is top of mind – castle, beautiful grounds, a beautiful setting; there is a lot of maintenance that comes with this infrastructure….We were one of the first MBA classes in this building when we started… When we look at challenges with technology; we need more discussion around what we need to invest in to maintain and grow what we have. We used to say in the Pension world –we were “high tech; high touch.” Customers are making one of their most important decisions in life – they wanted to talk to someone – wanted someone – high touch. But they also wanted high tech… Baby boomers – not all tech savvy. Millennials wanted the choice to not talk to human – tech first and then someone… Demographics would tell us otherwise…… In Pension Corporation, the pickup time on phone was 6 seconds. CALPERS – was slower, 30 seconds…. What were their expectations? Same with any customer group. What is their expectation? That is something that we try to look at… Security is also a big issue… Identity fraud – extremely top of mind; we are seeing a second university now that has been shut down by ransom ware…. Shutting down universities to be able to operate…. Expect we will take care of security…Top of mind for all organizations.

Robin: Could you talk about the MOU with Songhese First Nation – how does this figure in?

Cheryl: Based on what we have recently seen, discussions will continue – plans will continue – based on what we know today – this will not affect what we do. We are pleased to be able to continue discussion….

Wendy: From a faculty perspective we grapple with the issue that we are small faculty group – issues of workload keep arising – As you look to the future, how do you see our position – will there be opportunities to grow or will we be limited by our business model and PSEC

Cheryl: did I mention this is week 10 for me? (:-))) [laughter] Behind the curtain this is something I was unaware of… Don’t want to give a non- answer, but I look to Pedro and Steve to continue to address this. We want to protect the service model. Service industry I have been in … Anything that causes constraint is fair game… That is probably not really an answer, but I am glad you raised this… Goals and objectives of organization – we all need to be on same page…

Charles: we essential all are managers of programs – our core role. But increasingly this is locked down…We are managing a residency, and any number of other ventures in education. It is very difficult as a manager; we have no flexibility with budgets…

Wendy: we are not classified as managers – classified as faculty. teachers – we all have to account time for teaching… We have all paid for things out of pocket when we have not been able to find budget money…

Cheryl: My preference is that processes – have internal controls in place… This is not a negative thing, but allows you to say, do I have authority? If yes, I could then go from A-Z quickly. But if there are no accountability systems – then there is no system… If already approved – then we are penny-wise and pound foolish…

Virginia: we see this among staff – so we burn out people…. The high touch promise is a challenge. Could we have a few more mechanisms to be more flexible. For example, could we have some floating staff members who can backfill for others…. We need some bumblebees. What if there were a shared pool of honoraria to help out schools… There is a role for CFO to play in this…

Cheryl: I am writing this down so, as I work with staff – I need to talk with staff to get this kind of input. Budget transfer process… this is why it is called budget and not actual. There is some Flexibility – within when budget gets approved, there is flexibility in place to allow that to happen seamlessly and maintain bottom line… We always have to be careful. Does Board approve on line item or bottom line item… In CALPERS and Manitoba lotteries … Burdensome thing is waste of time…. You have probably spent more money just talking about this. We are small and don’t have large margins of error…
Because we are small don’t need huge cumbersome processes… Fit for purpose.

Catherine: thank you very much. The fact you are here and willing to engage in dialogue. If you are open to continuing the conversation. – this is assuring and thanks for your openness. We will continue to give more of them if you are open to this.

Ken: Thanks, Cheryl, [round of applause]

[there was some further discussion as Cheryl was leaving to retrieve the earlier motion but this failed as the Motion did not have a seconder. The meeting broke up shortly thereafter.

All regular items (5.2 – 5.6) were deferred to June meeting.]

5.2 Finance Committee (Jo)
5.2 Board of Governor’s Report (Charles)
5.3 Academic Council (Virginia)
5.4 CUFA-BC Conference (Ken)
5.5 Social Committee (Jenn)
5.4 Grievance Committee (Tamara)
5.5 Health & Safety Committee
5.6 Other: Workload Unit Committee (WLU) (Virginia)
5.8 Other: Special Guest: RRU VP and CFO: Cheryl Eason
(see comments above)

6.0 Adjourn Meeting
Motion to adjourn: meeting just dissolved
Adjourned at 1:45
Recorder: Niels

Appendix A: RRUFA 2017 Executive:

2017 Royal Roads University Faculty Association Executive:

President: Kenneth Christie [email protected]
Vice President: Virginia McKendry [email protected]
Secretary: Niels Agger-Gupta [email protected]
Treasurer: Jo Axe [email protected]
Member-at-Large (4 positions)
MAL: Brian White [email protected]
MAL: Rick Kool [email protected]
MAL: Eva Malisius [email protected]
MAL: Will Meredith [email protected]

FA Positions NOT up for renewal
Past President: Carolin Rekar Munro [email protected]
H&S Officer: Rick Kool
Chief Negotiator: Wendy Rowe [email protected]
Chief Grievance Officer: Tamara Leary [email protected])

Standing Request:
If you have any suggestions for presentations/dialogue topics for one of our monthly RRUFA meetings, please send Ken your suggestion!!