Letter regarding firing of two McMaster librarians

25 May

25 May 2009

To: President Peter George, McMaster University

I am writing on behalf of the York University Faculty Association (Library Chapter), whose members wish to express their strong support for the position taken by MUFA with respect to the recent firing of two librarians, Barbara MacDonald and Donna Millard.

McMaster University libraries have had a very good reputation within the academic library community. However, the process that led to the firing of these two librarians and the manner in which their jobs were terminated has caused serious injury to this reputation. Hiring of academics such as Ms MacDonald and Ms Millard is a rigorous and thorough process that serves to ensure that academic aims will be advanced within the institution and across the profession. It is equally imperative that a process that would result in the termination of academic positions needs to be at least as rigorous and ought not be subject to capricious decisions.

Virtually all university libraries in Ontario are faced with significant budget cuts, but none have elected to use these cuts as a justification for taking such egregious action as has been taken against these two valued colleagues. Both Ms MacDonald and Ms Millard have contributed in very significant ways within the McMaster community as well as within the broader academic librarian community. Both of these librarians deserve to be treated fairly and ethically, and indeed the broader academic community is owed assurance that the potential removal of such esteemed colleagues would only take place after all other possibilities have been exhausted. We, the members of the YUFA Library Chapter, respectfully urge you to demonstrate good faith by reinstating Ms MacDonald and Ms Millard, and to consider enacting a process that will include broader participation in managing current budget reductions.


Walter Giesbrecht
Union Steward
On behalf of the librarian members of the York University Faculty Association

Cc: Ilene Busch-Vishniac, Provost and VP (Academic), McMaster University
McMaster University Faculty Association
Canadian Association of University Teachers

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