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Academic Senate Guidance on UAW Strike

Academic Senate

 To: Academic Senate Faculty

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to update Senate faculty on issues related to a possible UAW strike at UCLA. The strike has been authorized by academic workers in UAW Local 4811, which includes: 1) Academic Student Employees (TAs and similar); 2) Postdoctoral Scholars; 3) Academic Researchers (Specialists/Project Scientists/Professional Researchers); and 4) Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs, including some on training grants and external fellowships). The Academic Senate and faculty are not involved in the dispute between the University of California Administration and UAW 4811.

This is a “stand-up” strike, meaning that campuses may strike at different times. The systemwide Academic Senate Chair and Vice Chair have issued strike guidance to the UC faculty, including five FAQs. If you are interested in further information about the claims of the UAW and the University administration, please see FAQ number one on the UC Academic Council Chairs Faculty Strike Guidance.

The Academic Senate, in advancing the academic mission of teaching, research and service, supports the learning and well-being of all students, graduate and undergraduate. Graduate students play an essential role in teaching at the University of California and, along with postdocs and staff researchers, are essential to the research mission. We also support our fellow Senate members as we all navigate a strike that affects both teaching and research.

It is imperative that faculty have flexibility in how they respond to a strike. As stated by the systemwide Academic Senate leadership, “Faculty members cannot be required to take on additional responsibilities for teaching related to a work stoppage.”

For faculty who ask how to manage disruption to their courses, there is no one-size-fits-all response given the diversity of instruction on our campus. Faculty possess customary discretion and autonomy to adapt their courses to strike circumstances while honoring Academic Senate regulations. At this time, changes to those regulations have not been made for final exams, but we are prepared to address this quickly if needed. Striking students are expected to continue to make academic progress. We urge you to communicate with enrolled students about change and continuity in your courses.

The Faculty Code of Conduct (APM – 015) observes that “The integrity of the faculty-student relationship is the foundation of the University’s educational mission.” It also states that a “significant failure to adhere, without legitimate reason, to the rules of the faculty in the conduct of courses, to meet class, to keep office hours, or to hold examinations as scheduled” constitutes “unacceptable conduct” by a Senate faculty member. How we, as instructors, maintain the multiplicity of faculty-student relationships and our obligations under strike conditions will vary.

About these and other strike-related matters, we welcome your input. We will keep you informed of any developments in the divisional or systemwide Academic Senate.

This is a difficult time at UCLA and in higher education and we are grateful for your commitment to our students and colleagues and to the academic mission.

Andrea M. Kasko
Chair, Academic Senate

Kathy Bawn
Vice Chair/Chair Elect, UCLA Academic Senate

Jessica Cattelino
Immediate Past Chair, UCLA Academic Senate

Brooke Scelza
Chair, Graduate Council

Catherine Sugar
Chair, Undergraduate Council

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