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CAUT urges University of Saskatchewan president to immediately reinstate Professor Robert Buckingham

(May 15, 2014 – Ottawa) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has called on the president of the University of Saskatchewan to immediately reinstate the head of the University’s School of Public Health whom she inappropriately fired yesterday.

In a letter to President Ilene Busch-Vishniac, CAUT Executive Director James L. Turk called her firing of Professor Robert Buckingham an inexcusable embarrassment to the traditions and history of the University of Saskatchewan and an embarrassment to post-secondary education across Canada.

“Open discussion and debate is at the heart of the university,” wrote Turk. “Firing a dean and tenured full professor because he publicly disagreed with your plans for the university is an intolerable attack on academic freedom and proper university governance.”

Turk called on Busch-Vishniac to reinstate Professor Buckingham immediately and to publicly apologize for her ill-considered and heavy-handed response to proper discussion and debate.

“That is the only remedy that has the possibility of restoring the reputation of an excellent university that you have so badly damaged,” added Turk.

CAUT has long defended all academic staff’s right to freely express their views about the institution in which they work without threat or punishment for doing so.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 120 universities and colleges across the country. CAUT is an outspoken defender of academic freedom and works actively in the public interest to improve the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education in Canada.