NEW! DFA Urges Dal Interim President & Board Chair to Support Ban on Street Checks
Open Letter, April 11, 2019
Dear Peter MacKinnon and Lawrence Stordy
I am writing to express the Dalhousie Faculty Association’s support for faculty concerns about street checks. A recent study has provided significant evidence of what members of the university community and beyond have known for some time: street checks are inextricably tied to racial profiling. (Halifax, Nova Scotia: Street Checks Report, the result of research by Professor Scot Wortley for the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, is at https://humanrights.novascotia.ca/streetchecks.)
The Report shows that bias in street checks is getting worse, not better, despite years of vocal community concern and public policy in support of diversity and inclusion: “The Black street check rate is now 6.1 times greater than the White rate . . . [and] people of Arab/West Asian background went from being under-represented in street check statistics (Odds Ratio=0.91) to being slightly over-represented” (p. 105). FASS Faculty Council voted yesterday to express FASS’s concern about street checks, and Dalhousie faculty have also participated in other actions to call for an end to the practice.
We ask you both to join with the DFA in 1) condemning street checks in light of Professor Wortley’s report and repeated expressions of concern from the community, and 2) urging the Minister of Justice Mark Furey to ban street checks. Street-check bias directly affects our students, staff, and faculty, and is inconsistent with Dalhousie’s goal of inclusion and a safe, respectful environment for all, so we cannot be silent on this matter.
Cc: Dr. Teri Balser, Dal Provost; Dr. Ivan Joseph, Dal VP Student Affairs; & Mark Furey, Minister of Justice, Province of Nova Scotia
The DFA office will be open from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm (Monday - Friday) between Tuesday, April 2 - August 31, 2019. As always, you can drop in during office hours at 1443 Seymour Street, call us at 902-494-3722 or email email@example.com.
The March 2019 issue of News You Can Use is available here.
The DFA offers its condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of Angela Rehhorn and Danielle Moore, both 2017 graduates of Dalhousie's Marine Biology program, who died in the tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash.
The DFA stands in solidarity with our colleagues at FUNSCAD. Pictured below is Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird, DFA Executive Member, on the picket line Friday, March 8.
Today (March 7), DFA President Dave Westwood sent an open letter to Dalhousie Provost Dr. Teresa Balser. In the letter, he urges a significant rethink of the 2019-2020 proposed budget as outlined in the recently-released BAC Report. "We are not persuaded that the selection of comments in the BAC report is an accurate representation of concerns on campus," notes Dr. Westwood. "In large numbers, our members raised significant concerns about the many years over which their retiring faculty colleagues were not replaced and the consequences in rising workload and weakened program integrity. The proposed budget does nothing to reverse this damage. We hear complaints about buildings too, but try asking a department if it would rather have better wifi or a tenure-stream colleague to partially replace three professors lost to retirement in the mid-2010s."
Anomalies Fund Now Open for Application
The Anomalies Fund Committee (AFC) is now accepting applications. The AFC exists to adjust the salaries of DFA Members "whose salaries are judged to be anomalously low, when compared with the salaries of other Members accounting for experience and rank within their Faculty" (Collective Agreement article 31A.06). Click here for the Call for Applications and an overview of the process. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2019. If you have questions regarding the application process, please email Dr. Mark Stradiotto, AFC Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you apply, please email Dr. Stradiotto to ensure your application has been received.
Earlier this week, the DFA submitted this message to Dalhousie’s Provost and Vice-President Academic Dr. Teri Balser. We have made similar submissions in the past but this represents our first opportunity to engage with Dr. Balser on the topic of the university budget. The Board's budget rhetoric often highlights the increasing costs of employing people to do the work of the institution. Academic staff compensation is often explicitly or implicitly identified as a "problem" that justifies, at least in part, perennial increases in student tuition. This is misleading, and only serves to divert attention away from the real problem. Our analysis shows that the dominant trend has been an increase in compensation costs for non-academic staff and the diversion of operating funds to back capital projects such as new buildings. In other words, increases in student tuition have been used to fuel the bloat of central administration and to erect new buildings, while the academic staff at the front-line of the university's academic mission are forced to do more with less every year. Since 2010, annual BAC cuts have led to a cumulative cut to Faculty budgets of more than 20% while enrolments have grown. Now that the building boom is nearing completion, it is time to reinvest in teaching and research - we need to reverse the trend of cuts to academic unit budgets.
Please take a moment to read our submission – it is important for all of us to understand the university’s budgeting process and financial practices as they impact our ability to deliver on the academic mission of the university.
This letter to the chair of the Board of Governors reflects the DFA's ongoing concern with the lack of open collegial process in appointing senior administrators - a concern echoed by colleagues across the country. Our collective voice and scholarly expertise should be respected in such important decisions. The principle of collegial governance is enshrined in our Collective Agreement and we will not stand by and watch it erode.
Dave Westwood, DFA President
Click here for the letter sent by the DFA on January 28, 2019.
On Tuesday, November 27, Jason Brown, Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, presented Math & Music: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!. Jason and a live band performed some favourite hits, brought to you by the DFA and the Halifax Public Library. A video of the event can be found here.
DFA's Public Speaker Series is an opportunity for our members to share with the community their research and areas of expertise. Presentations are bi-monthly, alternating between Truro and Halifax. Our next session is Wednesday January 30 in Truro. Dr. Deborah Stiles will present on Frankenstein, Frankenfood and the Forgotten Farmer at the Truro Public Library.
Tuition fee hikes and cuts to faculty budgets are not a financial necessity. They are a choice by the administration to direct money towards capital expenses and increasing non-academic costs. Click here for the updated review of Dalhousie's finances from 2002-2017. (verifed by a forensic accountant).
Submit Your Health Claims via Mobile App
As a Medavie Blue Cross subscriber, you are now able to submit health claims via a mobile app. Details available at https://www.medaviebc.ca/en/members/medavie-mobile.