Letter to University from Campus Chaplains re Strike

March 18, 2015
Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity
Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost

Dear Prof. Hildyard and Prof. Regehr, 

The Campus Chaplains Association at the University of Toronto is a multi-faith organization of spiritual care providers representing the many faith and ethical traditions practised at the University. We work in collaboration with the University’s Multi-faith Centre and Student Life division to care for the spiritual, religious, and emotional needs of students, and to promote harmony and dialogue among the diverse traditions we represent.

We have observed with distress the effect which the current labour dispute between the University administration and CUPE Local 3902, Unit 1, is having on the students we serve, both undergraduates and graduates, and on the public morale of the institution. We acknowledge that the University
of Toronto operates under significant practical constraints; at the same time, we recognize that CUPE 3902 is raising important issues about the funding structures for graduate education, the context in which all questions about reimbursement for the work of graduate teaching and research assistants must be addressed.

Our hope is that the two sides in this dispute will negotiate in a spirit of honesty and transparency, with a willingness to listen to the breadth of each other’s aims and concerns, and that both will approach the conversation in an open and flexible way, rather than from fixed and intransigent positions. Our experience of inter-faith dialogue confirms for us that beginning from a focus on common interests and aspirations is the firmest basis for understanding and constructive engagement.

Catherine Starr, for the Campus Chaplains Association

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