We believe that responding to the provincial budget cuts by doing away with course lecturer positions is destructive to the educational mission of the university. It is sadly what we’ve come to expect from an administration that has increasingly shown itself to be penny-wise and pound-foolish, cutting programs that contribute to McGill’s growth and prosperity while adding layer upon layer of upper administration and management.
Course lecturers are teaching professionals that have consistently provided high-quality education and diversity to this university. Unfortunately, our role in the life of the university has yet to be recognized, particularly by this present administration, which prefers a top-down approach. Our members are on the ground every day, and thus know the reality of the university. It is high time that we be invited to participate in the decision-making process.
For example, our union only found out about the recently announced cuts in the Faculty of Arts indirectly, and after they were made. As Dean Manfredi has clearly indicated, these cuts will primarily affect course lecturers. Of course, we needn’t mention that students in Arts will have less course offerings, and full-time faculty who are already over-burdened will have a heavier teaching load. If we had been consulted, we could have worked with Dean Manfredi to find a more sustainable and less destructive solution to his budgetary problems.
What is most infuriating about this recent news is that VP (Finance and Administration) Michael Di Grappa had promised AGSEM that he would consult with us and the other unions on campus before implementing any cuts. These recent events have confirmed for us that this consultation process is merely a means for McGill’s upper administration to save face, to provide the illusion that they are interested in building consensus on campus. We will not participate in their dangerous charade, nor will we sit idly by as this administration hurts our members and harms our university.
—AGSEM Unit III, the course lecturers and instructors’ union