CFA launches court action over program cuts

“We have said from the outset that Capilano University administration didn’t have the authority to make the program cuts that it did,” said Joanne Quirk, president of the Capilano Faculty Association. “That’s why we have launched this court action. Our reading of the University Act tells us that what the administration did in June violates provisions of the Act. Now it will be up to a judge to determine whether the administration crossed the line or not,” Quirk added.

At issue in the CFA’s petition to the court is the requirement under the University Act that before a (click heading for more)Board of Governors can approve program changes it must seek the advice and input of the institution’s Senate on the proposed changes. The CFA’s petition points out that the cuts made to Capilano programs in the summer were done without effective input and consultation from the University’s Senate.

“The administration at Capilano made fundamental changes to a broad range of programs, everything from Computer Science and Studio Arts programs to Developmental Education and Adult Basic Education offerings. Close to $3 million in courses and programs were cut as a result of their actions. Those changes were railroaded through and allowed no time for Senate to evaluate the proposal, a responsibility that the Senate has under the Act,” Quirk noted.

“The BC Supreme Court has already ruled on a similar case. In 2005, when administrators at Vancouver Community College attempted to do much the same thing, the court ruled that those unilateral changes were contrary to provisions in legislation, a ruling that forced VCC administrators to do a proper consultation on proposed course changes. That’s what we have been pressing Capilano administrators to do for the last six months, but now we are asking the courts to settle this issue,” Quirk stressed.