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Pay Equity::: Discrimination of Student Senators Must End

September 26, 2011

From: Joseph Hickey
To: Administrative Committee, University of Ottawa
Cc: Members of Senate, concerned community members
Date: September 26, 2011
Subject: Payment for Senate Work

Dear University of Ottawa Administrative Committee,

I hereby request payment for my work as an elected member of the University of Ottawa Senate, representing all graduate students in the Faculties of Science, Medicine, Engineering, and Health Sciences, for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years.

As a student representative, I am an equal member of Senate as those Senate members who belong to the professoriate or to the administration, as stipulated by Senate By-Law No. 1, 2008, pursuant to Article 15(h) of the University of Ottawa Act.

However, as a student representative, I am not paid for my work at Senate whereas all administrative and faculty (professors) members of such committees are paid for this same work.  This is a discriminatory treatment that must be repaired.

I have had to compromise my time resources available for my other graduate student duties and for my research career advancement and accept financial liability in order to duly perform my responsibilities at Senate, as must all student members.

Therefore, please provide me with a payment equal to the average pay that a professor earns for his or her Senate work, for both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years during which I have been and am currently a Member of Senate.

In the case of the professors, their annual workloads, for which they are paid their annual salaries, are divided between teaching, research, and administrative duties.  Professors’ administrative duties include participation on governance committees such as departmental and faculty councils, the Senate, the Board of Governors, etc.

The 2010 salary disclosure for University of Ottawa employees (available at: link) shows that the average pay for the Members of Senate listed on the University’s Senate web site as of May, 2011, was $142,213.63 (see attached Excel spreadsheet).  This does not include the undisclosed salaries of Faculty of Medicine Professor Robert Bell or of the professors from St. Paul’s.

A typical workload distribution for a professor is 40% teaching, 40% research, and 20% administrative duties.  The 20% administration work typically requires sitting on 4 committees, meaning professors sitting on the Senate are paid 5% of their annual salary for their Senate work.  5% of $142,213.63 is $7,110.68.

I therefore request two installments of $7,110.68 for my work on Senate during the 2010-2011and 2011-2012 academic years.  I would also be willing to consider an amount calculated in the above manner but making use of a more detailed salary list and/or average workload breakdown, such as the University has available to it.

Payment for student Senators is an obvious pay equity issue, as I am sure you will agree.  Repairing discrimination goes a long way to improving pride and motivation in one’s work, and the added benefits to the community of paying student representatives in university governance are significant and generally recognized in society.

With fair compensation student representatives will have more time for their committee work, being able to drop some of their other work.  Indeed, governance work is currently inaccessible to many students because it is not compensated.  In Canada, we pay our MP’s in order to help make governance positions accessible to any citizen.  The same principle must hold with students who, as a group, are financially disadvantaged.  Otherwise, the university is blatantly practicing discrimination having significant negative consequences.

I trust that “Canada’s university” will immediately do the right thing.

Please respond before the next meeting of the Senate, on October 3, 2011.

Joseph Hickey
Student representative to Senate, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Sciences Section

Cc: Members of Senate, concerned community members

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