Campus Unions’ Meeting with UPEI Administration

The following message is being distributed by the UPEI Faculty Association, CUPE-1870, and CUPE-501.

On Wednesday, July 19, union representatives from the UPEI Faculty Association, CUPE-1870 and CUPE-501 met with Interim President Greg Keefe and Interim Vice President People and Culture Sue Connolly to discuss the steps that UPEI Administration is taking to implement the recommendations in the Rubin Thomlinson report [PDF]. In the meeting, union representatives were told that that:

  • UPEI Administration will continue scheduling targeted town halls for specific groups in the hope that these engagements will give them insight into the needs of the campus community.
  • While these initial engagements will not utilize a professional facilitator, UPEI Administration recognizes that this is advisable for future engagements.
  • UPEI Administration believes it is important to not simply respond to the report but also to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive campus culture.
  • To address the issues identified in the report, UPEI Administration will be developing an Action Plan (similar to previous campus strategic plans) which will have input from an Action Plan Advisory Group. This group will be composed of various stakeholders including representatives from the campus unions.
  • The advisory group is envisioned to begin its work in August with the expectation that a final plan would be presented for approval to the UPEI Board of Governors and Senate by the end of this year or early next year.
  • In the interim, UPEI Administration will be providing additional resources and supports to the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SV-PRO) and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Office.
  • In line with a Rubin Thomlinson report recommendation, UPEI Administration will be retaining an external auditor to assess implementation of report recommendations and the action plan.

In the meeting, UPEI campus unions also raised a number of concerns, including:

  • UPEI Administration’s decision to organize meetings with the campus community without the assistance of a professional facilitator with training in trauma-informed facilitationand without due consideration to the power dynamics that are likely to inhibit participation.
  • UPEI Administration’s propensity, in the face of legitimate and constructive criticism, to deflect that criticism by pointing to positive counter examples in defense of their choices.
  • UPEI Administration’s decision not to share an unredacted copy of the Rubin Thomlinson report with the Action Plan Advisory Group despite the fact that this information is potentially vital for the group to fulfill its role.
  • UPEI Administration’s overly ambitious timeline for completing the Action Plan. 
  • UPEI Administration’s overly ambitious timeline for completing the Action Plan.
  • UPEI Administration’s failure to appreciate the campus community’s level of distrust of the UPEI Board of Governors and Administration. Initial remediation efforts must build trust rather than take this trust as a given.
  • UPEI Administration’s failure to appreciate the level of trauma that exists on our campus. Remediation efforts must be trauma informed and more sensitive to the needs of the campus community.
  • UPEI Administration’s failure to be transparent about particular problem areas of our university that are identified in the report but that are nonetheless redacted in the publicly available report.

Throughout the meeting, the campus unions made it clear that our members expect UPEI Administration to meaningfully engage with the elected leaders of the campus unions. If union leaders raise concerns with the implementation of the Rubin Thomlinson report recommendations or the development and execution of the Action Plan, we expect those concerns to be addressed.

As the Rubin Thomlinson report makes clear, the UPEI Board of Governors and Administration have a long way to go to rebuild the level of trust that is necessary to positively transform our campus culture. We have no doubt that the future of our institution depends in no small part on the Board and Administration’s willingness to hear what our members have to say and to make this a fully transparent remediation process.


UPEI Faculty Association

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