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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2016

Profs receive CAUT awards for equity & collective bargaining

Malinda Smith & Rolland Gaudet were honoured at CAUT Council Nov. 28, 2015.
Malinda Smith & Rolland Gaudet were honoured at CAUT Council Nov. 28, 2015.
Two renowned professors were honoured with prestigious awards Nov. 28 during CAUT’s biannual Council meeting.

University of Alberta political science professor Malinda Smith received CAUT’s Equity Award in recognition of her outstanding commitment to challenging exclusionary behaviours and practices. For more than two decades Smith has worked at all levels of the univer­sity and broader community to improve the status of women, racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and 2-spirited aca­demic staff.

“Justice is something that is more easily written about in abstraction than practiced in everyday life,” Smith remarked in accepting the award.

The past decade represented “dark times for the pursuit of equity and justice,” according to Smith, who teaches in the areas of international relations, comparative politics and critical race theory, but asserted it was now time for academic staff associations to “face up to our challenges” and “seize the opportunity to craft new visions of more just futures.”

On the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools, Smith said that academic staff associations have an obligation to both act on and think through the implications of teaching, research and pursuing equity in key institutions “haunted by dispossession” and to “address our colonial present.”

In the struggle for equity, Smith called on academics to confront biases in hiring and appointments, and resist divisive practices that “single out some for equitable inclusion, but only at the expense of others.”

Longtime union activist and shrewd faculty negotiator Rolland Gaudet was presented with CAUT’s Donald C. Savage Award for his outstanding contributions to collective bargaining in the post-secondary sector.

“Negotiating is an art — not a science — and it’s also a sport,” Gaudet told Council delegates in accepting his award. “Employer representatives are our shepherds, their intentions are universal. If they ask you to be realistic, it’s because they are asking you to accept your inevitable loss.”

In his speech, he also offered a range of advice on negotiation tactics proven to work, including the value of silence, demanding the impossible and lightening the mood with some humour.

In one entertaining quip, he paraphrased Al Capone: “You can get much farther with a kind word and a strike mandate than you can with a kind word alone.”

Gaudet, who acted as chief negotiator for the academic staff association at Université de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg for four rounds of bargaining, has been described as “meticulous,” “respected,” “experienced,” “eminent,” ”patient,” and “gifted with a strategic vision.” He recently retired after almost 50 years as a mathematics professor.

“We are proud to recognize the exceptional dedication by these eminent scholars and committed activists in the post-secondary education sector,” said CAUT president Robin Vose. “Warmhearted congratulations to both Malinda Smith and Rolland Gaudet for their exemplary and inspiring leadership.”