Brantford profs voice concerns
“Sometimes Brantford is out of sight, out of mind,” said Gary Warrick, brantford liaison officer for the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA).
Warrick has recently expressed his discontent with the pressing and reoccurring issues with Laurier’s Brantford campus in an article published on WLUFA Advocate.
In a metaphor comparing the canaries that served in British coal mines as a warning detector for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and who, if ignored, threatened the life of the miners to the full time and part-time faculty at Brantford campus, Warrick stated that the staff is “serving as proverbial canaries in our own academic mine.”
Warrick is acting as a spokesperson for all the faculty at Brantford who are both fed up and tired with issues such as lack of teaching assistants and limited resources.
“I wasn’t just writing it on behalf of the faculty about whining and complaining about what we don’t have,” explained Warrick. “One of the main points of my article is that the students at Laurier Brantford are being short-changed, in terms of their quality of their education.”
“We can’t possibly deliver with the limited resources we have, both in a lack of study space, a lack of library and lack of marking assistants,” he continued.
Garrick has been a staff member since the campus opened its doors in 1999 and explained that the aim of his statement was to alert the student body at both the Brantford and Waterloo campuses.
“It’s not new to us, we have lived with it,” he said.
The hope is that both campuses will reach equal equity and benefit from equal resources.
“I do think that the president is taking steps to have a multi-campus university,” explained Robert Kristofferson an associate professor of contemporary studies and history at the Brantford campus.
“[Max Blouw] is taking some steps to make it so he can understand how to equitably resource the two campuses,” he continued.
Along with the setbacks in services on the campus, the full-time faculty at Brantford receive lower salaries compared to their Waterloo colleagues. In a 2011 study, WLUFA found that, in comparison with the faculty of arts at Waterloo, Brantford faculty received $2500-$4500 less on average.
“It isn’t fair to get paid structurally less than other parts of the university,” Kristofferson said.
According to Warrick, WLUFA was unsuccessful in securing salary increases for Brantford faculty in the last round of collective bargaining, which means that the Brantford faculty will continue to be underpaid until at least July 2014.
Sheila McKee-Protopapas, executive director at WLUFA, said in an email that WLUFA does not have an official position on the situation at Laurier Brantford.
However, while Kristofferson explained that the salary issue is problematic, he expressed that the more prominent issue for the Brantford faculty is things such as the service burden.
“Our contract gives us three primary areas of responsibility of what we have to do for work,” he explained. “Teaching, research and service.”
On the Brantford campus, Kristofferson explained that they are drowning in committee work, and having more faculty would help provide more relief.
“We are not seen to be perhaps, on some days, as a top priority, unless we make some noise,” Warrick concluded.