Reported by Charlotte Drewett
Langara College faculty are questioning whether their jobs are in jeopardy after receiving an email announcing a budget deficit in the millions though smaller than expected.
Langara Faculty Association (LFA) president Lynn Carter said faculty are asking “What’s next?” and are concerned about how much input they have regarding budget decisions.
Langara President Lane Trotter circulated the email to Langara faculty and staff announcing that the three-year projected budget deficit has been reduced to $6 million, from the previously calculated $8 million. The document outlined steps taken to reduce the gap as well as a strategy to develop new ways to approach the budget.
Identifying major issues with the budget
Roy Daykin, chief financial officer and vice president of administration and community engagement, is heading up a Budget Principles Task Force that will make recommendations to senior leadership about the “things that are important to the institution and things that we have to adhere to,” he said.
According to Daykin the task force will meet over the next five weeks and have significant representation from faculty and faculty leadership.
“This is about figuring out how we do business differently and developing the principles that drive those decisions,” he said.
New plan may be flawed
“There is not a process set up that includes faculty in substantial decision making that’s going to take place,” Carter said. “To change what it is we think we’re doing without substantial input from faculty is shameful.”
Carter said the leader of the task force is the vice president of finance, adding that this is probably “indicative of who’s making the determination about what those budget principles are.”
“My concern is that we not be rushed into and frightened into making decisions because of the financial version of what’s going on at this institution,” she said.
Daykin views his role as a guide rather than a leader
“The task force has significant representation from faculty and faculty leadership,” Daykin said in an email interview.
Carter described specific concerns from faculty as a result of the president’s message, saying “part of it is not knowing.”
She said administration is talking about “flexibility” and “approving regularization,” which “suggests that they now are going to challenge whether or not people have a right to ongoing work at this institution. Is this a career for someone or are they going to be turned into what’s called adjunct or contingent faculty?”
Daykin said the collective agreement between administration and faculty would prevent that.
“The creation of adjunct faculty under the collective agreement is not possible and therefore not an option,” he said.
LFA seeking new agreement with Langara
Faculty are concerned they are not being heard and Carter said the faculty association will do what they can to relay that message.
“Clearly the college has made job security an issue and so we will address it at whatever venue we have to address it and if it has to be at the bargaining table then it will be at the bargaining table,” Carter said.
The LFA has given notice to open bargaining for a new collective agreement.