Every fall, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and its member associations including the UBC Faculty Association, organize and host a week-long celebration of contract academic staff. The events and activities during this week are designed to highlight issues affecting contract faculty on campus and, in particular, how contract academic faculty working conditions are far more precarious than they should be.
During our last Fair Employment Week at UBC (October 2019), the FA’s Contract Faculty Committee Chair, Sarika Bose and her CFC volunteers set up an information booth in the Agora at the AMS Student NEST. As well as talking to sessionals about their issues, they reached out to both full-time faculty and students to raise awareness about the contract academic experience at UBC.
In previous years, the Faculty Association has sponsored a lunch for Contract Faculty during Fair Employment Week and we continued the tradition in 2019 by holding a luncheon for Contract Faculty at the Vancouver campus and an afternoon reception at the Okanagan campus. As well as Committee members, FA Executive and Staff also attended both events to talk about about the issues.
Toward the end of the week, UBC contract academics and their counterparts at other post-secondary institutions in the lower mainland were invited to attend a special Pub Social. Now a regular Fair Employment Week event, the Social is a great opportunity to share information and find out about what’s happening at similar organizations.
Although Fair Employment Week events are important, equally so is the opportunity to remind our university decision-makers of the critical role contract faculty academics play in the life of the University. We once again distributed postcards addressed to UBC’s president, highlighting just how important contract faculty are to the institution. These postcards were signed by both faculty and students and delivered throughout the week (and we have more postcards which can be sent throughout the year – because Every Week is Fair Employment Week!) The Association also sent letters to Professors Santa Ono, UBC’s President, and Andrew Szeri, Provost and Vice-President Academic, reminding them of some of the difficulties faced by contingent academics.
The UBC Faculty Association remains committed to working on behalf of our Contract Faculty members. Fair Employment Week is a means to bring to the attention of the university administration, faculty and students just how important Contract Academics are to the functioning of UBC, and a way for us to continue our efforts to bring fairness to our workplace.
(Photo: CFC Volunteers at the Fair Employment Booth at The NEST, UBC Vancouver Campus, October 2019)