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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1997

MUNFA responds to Tuinman

Dr. Schrank's paper is a serious account and reasonable interpretation of what happened during MUNFA's last round of negotiations in 1995 and what has happened at Memorial since then. It is not surprising that Dr. Jaap Tuinman, Vice-President (Academic) and Pro Vice-Chancellor, does not like the interpretation, since the actions of the senior administration of Memorial are seen therein to be misguided and ineffectual.

Dr. Schrank's paper is also a serious critique of a paper delivered by Drs. Tuinman and Strawbridge, and Mr. Thistle, Vice-President (Administration), to a conference of the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, a conference from which both CAUT and MUNFA were excluded from attending by letter from the executive of CAUBO. That document includes a strident attack on what it calls CAUT's "ideology." It also includes a heavy-handed attack on academic freedom, which they characterize as "voluntarism."

Dr. Tuinman and the others find fault with faculty members choosing their own research topics; they are aggrieved that faculty members can choose to serve on committees that are of interest to them; and they are irritated that faculty members have a say in what courses they teach. It seems clear that they have a very different view of what constitutes a university than do most readers of the Bulletin.

Dr. Tuinman closes with the observation that change will come to the university either imposed by external forces or "accomplished from within with active cooperation from faculty." Readers should not therefore infer that at Memorial there is any attempt by senior administration to include faculty in meaningful decision-making.

Change for Memorial's senior administration is something that is imposed from the top. Faculty cooperation for Memorial's senior administration requires quiet acquiescence to whatever it is the senior administration wishes to do at the moment.

The results that flow from such a model of "decision-making" are unlikely to enhance the quality of education of our students, to improve the morale of faculty and staff or to further the goals of higher education.

John C. Bear
President, Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty Association