VCCFA Report to the College Board – September 27, 2023
Prepared by Taryn Thomson, VCCFA President
It was my honour to attend the Blanketing ceremony for David Kirk and Jessie Williams, the reconciliation flag raising event, and the unveiling of the art by Tamara Bell. I am immensely proud of VCC for its commitment to truth and reconciliation, and I feel honoured to be part of this community as we move forward in a better way.
Freeze on Faculty Layoffs
When I was here in June, I did not get my point across, and as a teacher, when I don’t get my point across one way, I try another way. So, today I am going to briefly revisit the topic of a call for a freeze on faculty layoffs for this year. I am going to start by stating my main point, and then I am going to speak to it. The main point I am making on behalf of faculty and the faculty association is that it is not necessary to layoff teachers, rather it is a choice that the institution makes.
To back up this claim, I am going to use some of the data I spoke to in June:
a) from 2012 to 2023 the number of administrators at VCC increased by 75%.
b) the salary costs for administrators in 2023 compared to the salaries in 2012 is an increase of about 225%. In comparison, Faculty salary increases are about even with inflation.
c) The total costs for administrators have gone up almost 7 times more steeply than faculty costs in the same period.
What I invite you to see in that data is the fact that we have had enough money to grow the administrative side of the house by quite a large margin, and that therefore, we have enough money to keep the number of faculty we have whole.
This is my 5th years as President of the faculty association, and in every one of those 5 years, a significant portion of our work has been taken up with faculty layoffs. They have occurred every year.
Let me talk a bit about the layoff process. Reductions are deemed “necessary”. A person is given advanced notice of layoff. This sets them into deep anxiety over their job and how they are going to manage to pay their rent or mortgage or their kids university tuition. After one month, the actual 3 -month notice period starts, and the clock begins ticking to the potential end of a person’s income and career. The whole time, the individual lives in fear. In addition, they feel targeted. It feels personal. They feel this somehow is related to their work. They aren’t good enough. Their work suffers, as it is hard to teach at one’s best when one is under threat of layoff.
Let’s commit to seeking every alternative before we consider layoffs. Let’s be pro-active. Let’s seek to understand why and where there is soft enrolment and strive to fix the problem. Let’s consider running small classes for a time. Let’s put real dollars into marketing programs that really need it. Let’s consider making reductions in areas of the college that will not affect teaching and learning.
We want the college to commit to a year without layoffs. Let’s commit to keeping the community intact. Let’s look after every member of our community. Let’s do something different.