Academic freedom at risk at UOttawa

The University of Ottawa’s Dean of Medicine, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, is warning faculty against expressing their political views in public, which violates the principle of academic freedom according to CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

In a memo issued last month, Dr. Bradwejn advised faculty not to voice “politically charged sentiment” in social media accounts.

“One of the key components of academic freedom is the right of faculty to exercise free speech without the university’s censorship or reprisal,” says Robinson. “Historically, the majority of the most famous academic freedom cases involve professors who were unfairly sanctioned for their public comments and actions, as in Bertrand Russell’s firing at Trinity College, Cambridge; and the foundational academic freedom case in Canada – the firing of Professor Harry Crowe at United College.”

Robinson is calling for the school to immediately ask the Dean of Medicine to retract his comments and reassure faculty that no action will be taken against those exercising their academic freedom.

Tentative agreement reached at Cape Breton University

A tentative agreement reached in February between the Cape Breton University Faculty Association (CBUFA) and the university has since been ratified by both the association’s members and the university's board.
“Members of the faculty union are pleased to have a new contract in place and…[w]e look forward to being equal partners in managing and solving challenges that CBU may face in the future for the benefit of all its stakeholders,” says Andrew Reynolds, Chair of the CBUFA Communications Committee.
The new three-year contract includes a wage increase of 1.25 per cent each year, and clarifies the conditions under which layoffs can occur.

Strike avoided at Université de Moncton

The Association des bibliothécaires, professeures et professeurs de l’Université de Moncton (ABPPUM) has reached an important milestone towards equity.  Over 97 per cent of the association’s members voted in March to ratify the tentative agreement reached, which guarantees wage parity with their counterparts working in New Brunswick English-language universities.  Faculty have struggled to achieve this parity since their strike in 2000.
Association President Étienne Dako is very pleased with the resolution: “This agreement puts an end to decades-long discrimination, and we are greatly relieved, after difficult negotiations, to have acquired the right to equal pay for equal work.”
The agreement will go before the university’s board of governors on April 8 for ratification.

Deal at Algoma

The Algoma University Faculty Association (AUFA) has voted 95 per cent in favour of ratifying the agreement reached Feb. 28 with the administration for its contract academic staff members.
CAUT President James Compton says, “We are happy that a deal could be reached. Equity for contract academic staff was a key issue in this negotiation.”

CAUT stands against the ban

Following an initial rough ride through the U.S. court system, a revised version of Donald Trump’s order banning travel from (now) six Muslim-majority countries is again facing a torrent of legal challenges while continuing to cause turmoil for travellers.
While the executive order has been at least temporarily halted by judicial injunction, the uncertainty around travel remains and affects many academic staff and students in Canada by restricting their ability to travel to the United States for conferences, and to engage in research partnerships and collaborations with American institutions and scholars.
CAUT joined with the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in January to strongly condemn the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States for people from these countries, and to urge its members and the entire academic community in Canada to oppose the Trump administration’s discriminatory order by signing the AAUP petition against the ban.
CAUT is also advising its members affected by the order to defer their travel plans, and that they, as with any member planning on travelling to the U.S., consult the CAUT Travel Advisory, Travelling to the United States: Your Rights at the Border, which is currently under review.
“Canadian academics who might be affected by the order and who have travel plans in the coming days should postpone travel to the United States,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

This month in the Bulletin

Concerns about the waning influence of academics over the governance of post-secondary institutions, whether in senates or boards of governors, are not new. But as growing numbers of universities’ boards of governors are acting like private-sector entities, seeking to centralize their power at the expense of collegiality and faculty engagement, the question burgeons: at what cost comes the silencing and sidelining of scholars in the governance of our post-secondary institutions? 

Read Governance on the rocks — Do academic staff today have much of a say in university & college governance?



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