RRUFA Meeting Minutes – September 2017 Monthly Meeting
Wednesday September 6, 2017
LIC Centre for Dialogue – 12-1:30 pm
Present: Rick Kool, Eva Malisius, Ken Christie (president), Siomonn Pulla, Wendy Rowe, Jo Axe, Davina Dander, Chris Ling, Elizabeth Childs, Matt Dodd, David Black (acting secretary)
1. Call to order at 12:05 pm
2. Approval of July 2017 monthly meeting minutes
3. New business:
3.1 RRUFA—its organizational culture
Ken speaks to “member engagement” and the “organizational culture” of RRUFA, inviting faculty into a renewal of RRUFA in view of (it was noted) the poor attendance for this September meeting.
Wendy speaks to the issue of RRUFA renewal, and the fact that faculty need to be brought into dialogue relating to the Collective Agreement and the health of RRUFA in general.
Siomonn speaks to the problem of faculty non-attendance at a number of RRU events, not merely RRUFA events.
Chris speaks to fact that a number of faculty do attend a few meetings a year, but are not present at each one, suggesting here that turnout is better than we think.
Wendy wonders if there is a decline in interest.
Jo asks about bringing a teleconference link – Blue Jeans, etc. – so that faculty might attend FA meetings virtually.
Elizabeth suggests that we should bring the same technology we use in our teaching into our RRUFA meetings to allow synchronous connections.
Wendy talks about the difficulty of maintaining secrecy or in camera conversations in RRUFA meetings.
Ken invites the idea of RRUFA meeting every 2 months, rather than once a month, believing that this might improve attendance and offer RRUFA a substantive agenda of items for discussion.
Elizabeth raises the question of people, like herself, who do not have much experience of unions, and don’t understand how they work and why they exist. Elizabeth suggests that we have some kind of education forum relating to unions and what RRUFA does for us.
Ken talks about the fact that, but for the union, faculty here would be in a much worse place institutionally.
Siomonn talks about what unions are and do, indicating that we are a rare employee group at RRU that is unionized. He mentions that the practitioners among us are less informed or socialized toward unions than faculty.
Jo raises the question of our not following Robert’s Rules of Order with regard to members taking turns in speaking. She is unsure just why faculty are not coming to RRUFA meetings, and thinks we should conduct a survey or formally engage faculty as to why they are not coming.
Eva asks why the agenda was not circulated in advance. Ken notes that we are soon in need of a secretary for the RRUFA, as Niels is interested in stepping down from the role. He hopes that we might resolve this issue of the vacancy for secretary soon.
3.2 Election of a new Academic Defense Fund trustee to represent RRUFA
David Black, his latest two-year term ending September 30, is resigning after several terms as trustee.
Motion: that Ken Christie be nominated as the 2017-2019 Defense Fund representative and as the proxy holder for the FA.
The vote supporting Ken serving as the representative and proxy holder as Defense Fund passes.
4. Regular reports
Wendy discusses the schedule for bargaining in 2018-19. She mentions that she hopes to assemble her team, get training, and otherwise prepare during the fall of 2018.
There are no other reports, as some normally making the reports were not present and the time for our special guest’s presentation had arrived.
5. Special guest: Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads, 1-1:30 pm
He is here to discuss LGBTQ issues and campus culture, based on the op-ed article he wrote for The Globe and Mail. That editorial, “Intolerance of the LGBTQ community is intolerable,” was published August 3, 2017.
Allan is concerned that we, as Canadians, might take our sense of inclusion and tolerance for granted. He notes that the boundaries of what is accepted and not accepted in public discourse have become softer, meaning that angry and intolerant voices relating to identity are more public and are heard with more frequency and volume.
Allan worries that the coarseness in U.S. public debate might move to Canada later, and become normalized here. He fears the emergence of scapegoating.
Based on his organizational research, he argues that the more heterogeneity in a group, the more opportunity for synergy there is.
With our social media networks, he sees more “consistency bias” (where we prefer to expose ourselves to views that we already hold), and more incentive there for intolerance.
Allan says, “The boundaries of what is acceptable public discourse are being challenged, and must be engaged.”
Eva asks Allan about what RRU does with regard to diversity, and invites Allan to reconcile his role as president and views as a private citizen and academic concerned about tolerance.
Allan notes that he has not typically defined himself as a “gay university president,” but recognizes that that dual identity does make him sensitive to these issues relating to tolerance on campus. He is a member of a gay presidents’ university group.
Rick raises the issue of neo-Nazi vandalism in the Jewish cemetery in Victoria, and the remarkable turnout of people (1200) who came in support of challenging that vandalism and hate speech.
David raises the issue of universities as places of tolerance, but ones that are being tested by evidence of growing intolerance in the Western world.
Meeting adjourned at 1:25.