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OPSEU College Faculty demand immediate retraction of Durham College election policy

OPSEU College Faculty - collegefaculty.org

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on Durham College to abandon an anti-democratic policy of barring its employees from engaging in political activities.

Thomas’s call on Friday came on the same day that Northumberland County backed off of a similar policy.

“Durham College should show the same good sense that officials in Northumberland County have shown,” Thomas said. “Democracy is precious and should not be needlessly suppressed.”

Employees received an email from Durham College President, Don Lovisa, on April 27, citing a new 2018 policy that says employees may not “engage in political activity… inside and outside the workplace.”

Ontario Colleges are not covered by the Public Service of Ontario Act, and therefore the political activity of college employees is not restricted.

“President Lovisa apparently missed the memo that Ontario Colleges are no longer Crown Agencies, They haven’t been Crown Agencies for over a decade,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The President of Durham College needs to do his homework.”

“Durham College has made a big mistake by trying to suppress discussion about the election on campus,” said OPSEU College Faculty Division Chair, RM Kennedy. “Their policy is a serious violation of academic freedom and our democratic rights. College Faculty work hard to encourage our students’ civic engagement. You would think a college president would be more careful to respect and protect academic life on campus.”

The OPSEU College Faculty Division sent a letter to Don Lovisa on May 18, demanding an immediate retraction of Durham College’s policy.

For more information: 

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President: 613-329-1931
RM Kennedy, OPSEU College Faculty Division Chair: 416-346-8382