Statement from York University Provost Rhonda Lenton - Senate Executive Approves Resumption of Classes


TORONTO, March 16, 2015 - Reaching fair and competitive settlements with CUPE 3903 has been the University’s goal since we first began negotiating new collective agreements. As colleagues know, CUPE 3903 contract faculty (Unit 2) ratified a new three year contract. Regrettably, two units of CUPE 3903 representing Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants (Units 1 and 3), rejected the University’s offers and remain on strike.

Our most immediate priority must now be finalizing plans to allow as many students as possible to return to their studies in order to complete their terms. This in no way diminishes the imperative of resolving the labour disruption as soon as possible.

Senate Executive met on March 12 to review the Faculty-specific plans regarding the resumption of the balance of courses this week and had a further meeting today to address outstanding issues in order to make its decision.

I am pleased to announce classes in the following Faculties will resume on Tuesday, March 17:

  • School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design
  • Faculty of Education
  • Glendon
  • Faculty of Health classes not already resumed
  • Faculty of Science

Classes for the following Faculties will resume on Monday, March 23:

  • Faculty of Environmental Studies
  • Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies classes not already resumed.

These are in addition to the 333 courses that resumed on March 11, and the courses in the JD program offered by Osgoode Hall Law School that resumed today.

Please note that some courses directed by CUPE 3903 (Unit 1) members and who remain on strike will not resume unless those members express a desire to return.  In addition, tutorials and labs associated with these and other courses may not be active.  Some assignments may not be graded until after the strike is settled. All courses currently being delivered will continue and any further updates will be posted on our website.

In addition, the Senate Executive approved the following adjustments to class schedules and academic regulations including:

The last day to withdraw from courses without receiving a grade will be extended, with details to be announced.

A reduction in the length of the Y (Year) and W (Winter) terms of seven days.

The formal examination schedule will now start one week later than originally planned for most courses.

Although classes throughout the University have resumed, the Senate Policy on the Academic Implications of Disruptions or Cessations of University Business Due to Labour Disputes or Other Causes continues to apply.  Students who are unable or unwilling to participate in academic activities because of the strike are entitled to immunity from penalty, to reasonable alternative access to materials covered in their absence, to reasonable extensions of deadlines and other forms of remediation (for example, changes in academic regulations) that are necessary and consistent with the principle of academic integrity.  Senate Executive will communicate promptly changes that it authorizes.

York highly values the significant contributions its teaching assistants and graduate assistants make to the university. We are committed to reaching a fair and competitive settlement that continue to position them as among the best compensated in Canada, so we can welcome them back to campus soon.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Rhonda Lenton
Vice-President Academic & Provost

For information: see

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 22101,