Academic decision-making usually rests with the Senate, and program prioritization is an abrogation of this authority. Senates can therefore be mobilized to block program prioritization. If this is unsuccessful, legal options exist. Usurping the authority of the Senate will typically represent a violation of the university’s legal charter, creating the potential for a court challenge.
Many collective agreements contain language protecting faculty members from termination, provided there is no clear case for financial exigency. The agreement can therefore be used to protect individuals from the effects of program cuts or closures.
In many cases, program prioritization is used as a pretense to re-organize the university,change its mission, and alter its governance structure. Each of these will require a change to existing collective agreements, and can therefore be resisted using the grievance process. Violation of the collective agreement – or attempts to unilaterally change it – can be met with strong legal and job action.
SOURCE: OCUFA 2013. Frequently Asked Questions: Ontario’s Differentiation Agenda and Program Prioritization. (http://ocufa.on.ca/)