Equity and the Evaluation of Scholarship

Categories: Bargaining Updates 2014, Equity

On Friday, January 30, 2015 the parties signed a Memorandum of Agreement that itemizes the proposals on which agreement has been reached, the proposals the parties have mutually agreed to withdraw, and those “matters still in dispute” that the parties may submit to arbitration. Please note that any items agreed to at the bargaining table will not be implemented until the interest arbitration is complete. This is the fourth in a series of blog posts to discuss both the matters that have been agreed to and those that are still in dispute.

In 2012, the Bargaining Committee asked the UBCFA Status of Women’s Committee for recommendations on ways the Collective Agreement could improve the University’s treatment of members of “designated groups” (i.e. groups with personal attributes that the law generally forbids as grounds for discrimination.) They made recommendations in two areas. First, that Part I of the Collective Agreement should be modified to commit the University to:

  1. maintain a community that recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourage each individual to strive to reach her or his own potential;
  2. ensure that there are no barriers or systemic discrimination preventing full participation of all faculty members;
  3. agree that there shall be no discrimination, interference, restriction or coercion exercised or practiced with respect to any matter included in the Agreement by reason of any personal attributes that the law generally forbids as grounds for discrimination, such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, etc.; and
  4. eliminate those employment policies, practices, and systems, whether formal or informal, shown to have an unfavorable effect on the hiring, retention, leadership assumption, and promotion of members of designated groups.

The University made it clear that it was not interested in having such provisions in the Collective Agreement. It was so clear that we didn’t even bring a similar proposal to the table in this round.

The second recommendation of the Status of Women’s Committee was to modify Part 4, Article 4.03 to ensure that, when assessing scholarship for career decisions, recognition is given to different and diverse experiences of marginalized groups and to affirm that diverse substantive contributions to knowledge must be welcomed in the university. The University had no interest in that proposal either in 2012, but we felt strongly about this proposal. We brought it back to the table (UBCFA proposal #23) in this round and we were able to achieve agreement to make the necessary modifications to the Collective Agreement. We think this will make a significant improvement to how members who engage in non-traditional research will be evaluated.