Re-imagined #OneDayofProfPay campaign rubs U of T students the right way
By: Lisana Nithiananthan (2L)
Closely following the recent media attention and controversy surrounding the #OneDayOfPay campaign and ultimately leading to its cancellation, University of Toronto Faculty of Law professors have stepped up to the plate.
Created by the Students Law Society (SLS), the campaign was initially meant to provide financial awards to students interested in developing their own public interest projects by collecting donations from fellow classmates who were employed for the summer and could therefore ostensibly donate one day’s pay.
Despite the noble intentions, the campaign faced backlash from the student body who regarded the idea as condoning (illegal) unpaid internships, increasing the stress and debt load of students, and shifting the burden of funding salaries away from employers onto students.
In the face of divisive opinions in the law school community, the SLS held a town hall to discuss student concerns. Following which, the SLS was on the verge of cancelling the campaign in its entirety – until the Faculty came on board.
In its re-imagined form, law professors at the U of T Faculty of Law will pledge their one day’s pay to help subsidize those students interested and actively pursuing public interest and/or social justice roles that are unpaid.
The Faculty’s professors are among the highest paid in the province and did not think twice about footing the bill for the #OneDayofProfPay program to flourish.
In an exclusive, Dean Iacobucci told Intra Vires that supporting the student initiative was a “no-brainer”. He continued with a laugh that the idea actually came from a coy student comment made in The Toronto Star.
When asked why she was willing to support the initiative, Professor Fernandez stated that she wanted to make sure students were able to pursue their dreams, and that was the motivating factor for her support of the pledge campaign.
Asked the same question, Professor Roach scoffed before explaining that ‘it made no difference to me. Do you know how much I make? I’m tenured”.
Professor Ben Alarie, speaking on behalf of his esteemed colleagues, told Intra Vires that. “it simply isn’t true that we feed into Bay Street. And this is just another way we can prove that. Not to mention that it’s also a really good PR move for us professors. We come off looking like generous souls. Win-win!”
“The Students’ Law Society had a great idea and we wanted in on it. When the students didn’t want to… or rather couldn’t given the high tuition and heavy debt… we made it a faculty-funded initiative, because really we are the only ones with enough moolah to fund such an expensive idea” chimed in Professor Chapman.
Judith McCormack, Assistant Dean for Students, added that now the Faculty of Law will not only help administer the pledge campaign, it would also fund it. Though Ms. McCormack was quick to add that “while the Faculty did not support unpaid positions, we proudly let our students see them out.”
Asked for his reaction to how this has unfolded, student Riaz Sayani-Mulji coyly suggests extending the Faculty’s generosity to apply to an even nobler campaign: the campaign to finance JDs for the Class of 2016.
The #OneDayOfProfPay begins April 1st 2015. For more information and keep updated on this campaign visit Ultravires.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.