The following motion (08-04-2016 – 07) was unanimously approved by the GSA Council at the April, 8 2016 meeting.

Whereas Carleton University is a public institution funded through provincial operating grants and tuition fees paid by students; and

Whereas on March 21, 2016, the Board of Governors approved new Bylaw changes that close the Board off from the Carleton community by increasing secrecy and centralizing power; and

Whereas the Board has repeatedly ignored its own Bylaws and, in fact, knowingly disregarded the notice requirements in its own Bylaws when amending the Bylaws on March 21; and

Whereas the Board refused to consider the many recommendations put forward from community groups, including the GSA, the Carleton University Academic Staff Association (CUASA), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4600, CUPE Local 2424, CUPE Local 910, the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union Local 404, and the Carleton University Post-Doctoral Association, and rejected all amendments from students and faculty on the Board; and

Whereas the new Bylaws codify the Board’s recently introduced Code of Conduct, which is known as a “gag order” that prevents elected representatives from meaningfully engaging with the campus community; and

Whereas the Board’s “gag order” has been condemned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and the Canadian Federation of Students—Ontario (CFS-O), and could lead to Carleton University being blacklisted internationally; and

Whereas the Board has threatened to remove Dr. Root Gorelick over his blogging about Open Meetings; and

Whereas the GSA has learned [see slides 24-33] that senior administration has threatened Dr. Root Gorelick’s employment in retaliation for his blog posts criticizing the Board, and that President Runte instructed Information Security to lock Dr. Gorelick out of his teaching and research website on the Carleton server, both of which are severe violations of academic freedom; and

Whereas senior administration, and in particular President Runte, have blocked repeated attempts by the GSA and faculty to compel the Board of Governors to give a report to the Senate, which means that the Senate has no opportunity to seek answers or accountability from the Board; and

Whereas the Board has excluded the public from attending Open Meetings, except for a small number of vetted individuals, and has changed its Bylaws such that all meetings of Board committees are in camera (secret and confidential); and

Whereas the new Bylaws remove the connection between the GSA and the Board, by taking away the right of the GSA to nominate a representative to the Board by means of GSA-run elections; and

Whereas student candidates for the Board have been told by the University Secretary that they cannot express opinions on student issues or present an election platform, despite the absence of any codified rules to this effect, denying constituents the possibility of an informed vote; and

Whereas the introduction of the new Bylaws has been overseen by the Chair of the Governance Committee, Michael Wernick, who has previously compared peaceful student protestors to Nazis, and has never issued an apology for those inappropriate statements, and has in fact been supported by the Board and senior administration; and

Whereas the Board has repeatedly approved increases to tuition based on misleading information as presented by VP Finance and Administration Duncan Watt, to the effect that Carleton University is claiming tuition fees are frozen for some students when in fact the fees are increasing for these students, at times in violation of provincial policy; and

Whereas the Board has, on numerous times in the past, condoned the actions of senior administration in arbitrarily withholding student levies from student unions, threatening the finances of student unions, and rejecting student referendum results; and

Whereas the Chair of the Board of Governors, Tony Tattersfield, has acted aggressively and inappropriately towards student and faculty Board members [see slides 22-23], and has repeatedly attempted to limit debate and close off participation; and

Whereas the Board and senior administration has refused to respond to the concerns of the Carleton community about the repeated egregious actions above, and instead have taken further action to close themselves off from students and workers on campus; and

Whereas it can be concluded that the Board and senior administration do not have the best interests of the Carleton University community at heart, but are deeply committed to undemocratic and exclusionary forms of governance; and

Whereas students and workers are left with no meaningful participation in university governance, raising the question of whether the Board can be trusted to make important decisions about tuition fees, strategic planning, collective bargaining, or the creation of a Sexual Assault Policy, among other issues facing the Board; therefore

Be it resolved that the Council of the Graduate Students’ Association express its lack of confidence in the Carleton University Board of Governors and in the senior administration of Carleton University, including Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte (President & Vice-Chancellor), Duncan Watt (Vice President Finance and Administration), Tony Tattersfield (Chair of the Board of Governors), and Michael Wernick (Chair of the Board’s Governance Committee).

 

Contact: Michael Bueckert, GSA President: pres@gsacarleton.ca or (cell) 613-315-7947