November 19, 2021
Re: Response to Students United
We applaud our students for eloquently expressing many of the questions we’ve also asked the College in preparation for Winter 2022. Collective action is the bedrock principle unions rest on, and we are always glad to see members of our community come together in solidarity in this way.
The experiences of faculty and many more staff who have been working on campus throughout the pandemic have shown us a large-scale return will not be without stressors and safety concerns. The needs of immunocompromised faculty, staff, and students, as well as those who live with or care for vulnerable people (which still includes all children under 11), remain a primary concern for us. We know as well that the logistical challenges of a full return to campus — living arrangements, childcare, commuting, and other supports — are also top of mind for many.
One thing is clear: while decisions around what Winter 2022 should look like may be complex and require balancing many factors, this petition is a direct result of the insular and top-down way the College makes decisions. Students, faculty, and staff should not have to resort to petitions for our concerns about safety in an ongoing pandemic to be taken seriously.
We also recognize faculty have many different experiences with and positions on various delivery modes, and we understand that in some cases, the petition has been shared among faculty with a call to reject online classes. As a union, we have active concerns (and bargaining proposals) around the College’s refusal to recognize the workload and other impacts of online vs. hybrid vs. in-person (etc.) teaching — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These workload concerns directly impact the quality of education and learning experiences of our students.
A meaningful vision of shared governance and commitment to a healthy and inclusive community that Humber College likes to describe would look very different, and would take seriously the relationship between faculty and staff working conditions and student learning conditions. Along with a potential increase in online, hybrid, or other options (with real faculty consultation and agreement), we hope one outcome of this petition will be a recognition on the part of management that students, faculty, and staff deserve meaningful input into how our College is run.