BC court ruling touches on bicameral nature of universities

April 27, 2010

University Affairs' Leo Charbonneau notes on his "Margin Notes" blog that some observers consider a recent ruling from the BC Court of Appeal important because it touches on the bicameral nature of universities. In 2007, the University of British Columbia's faculty association filed a grievance after UBC's senate approved a new policy on student evaluations on teaching, arguing the new policy violated the collective agreement. An arbitrator concluded that he had no authority under the agreement to pronounce upon the policy. The faculty association sought a judicial review of the arbitrator's decision, claiming he erred in rejecting its argument that UBC was a single entity employer whose constituent parts, include the senate, were bound by the agreement. The court dismissed the appeal, stating the power of academic governance is in the senate and the board is not entitled to interfere with its policy-making role in that regard by the terms of the agreement. Margin Notes | Read the ruling