Back to top

Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee Terms of Reference

1 Status and role

(a) The Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee shall be a Standing Committee of Council with responsibility for promoting academic freedom and tenure on behalf of the Association and dealing with alleged violations of academic freedom and tenure brought to its attention by individual affiliated members or others.

(b) The Committee shall also be responsible for making recommendations to Council on policy matters relating to academic freedom and tenure, grievances and discrimination, as well as policy matters arising from the Committee's consideration of academic rights issues.

(c) The Committee also shall review reports of ad hoc investigatory committees appointed to gather information on alleged violations of academic freedom and tenure and shall receive updates at each meeting on all academic freedom related activities of the Association. Following the review of such reports, the Committee shall forward any recommendations to the Executive Committee.

2 Composition

(a) The Committee shall be composed of at least eight members (including the Person Chairing). The members must be sympathetic to, and have had experience in, the defence of academic freedom and tenure.

(b) Members shall normally serve for three year terms, with the possibility of one renewal. Terms shall overlap in such a way that approximately one third of the membership changes annually. If the normal term needs to be altered in order to ensure the continuation of this changeover pattern, the Committee shall make suitable recommendations to Council at its Spring meeting.

(c) The term of the Person Chairing the Committee shall normally be for two years.

(d) The President shall be an ex officio member of the Committee. The Vice-President and the Executive Director shall be additional non-voting members of the Committee. The Executive Director shall designate staff to provide support to the Committee.

(e) In addition, the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université may send a representative with the rights as provided for in the CAUT/FQPPU Accord.

3 Functions

(a) The Committee may deal with grievances from academic staff, groups of academic staff, or faculty associations of Canadian universities.

(b) Appeals to CAUT shall normally be dealt with, in the first instance, by the professional staff of CAUT in consultation with the President and Person Chairing the Committee. Requests which are refused may be appealed, within 30 days of the communication of the refusal, to an Appeal Committee composed of the Past President, one member selected by the Executive Committee and one member selected by the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.

(c) The Committee will review all reports of ad hoc investigatory committees and may recommend to the Executive publication of such reports and submission to Council for further action.

(d) In carrying out the foregoing functions, the Committee will ensure that attention is given to discrimination against women academics and members of other designated groups, with a view to redressing the effects of past discrimination, challenging ongoing forms of discrimination, and preventing discrimination in the future.

(e) The Committee shall plan measures and programs to actively promote academic freedom and tenure and shall assist CAUT Executive and Council is carrying such measures and programs.

(f) The Committee shall deal with policy matters pertaining to academic freedom and tenure and the academic rights of academic staff, and such other matters falling within its jurisdiction as may be referred to it by the CAUT Executive Committee or Council.

4 Selection of committee members

(a) Vacancies on the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee shall be advertised in the CAUT Bulletin and by direct mailing to local and provincial associations/unions by November 30. The President, Vice-President, Past-President and Executive Director will follow-up the direct mailing with member associations to gather as complete a list of potential committee members as possible.

(b) The President, Vice-President, Past-President and Executive Director will review the entire list of potential committee members and will recommend potential members to the Executive so that the Committee will have the requisite expertise required to fulfill its functions (See Article 3) and will reflect the diversity of CAUT in so far as possible along geographic, size of institution, linguistic, disciplinary, gender and equity lines. The rationale for the selection of each member will be presented to the Executive along with the names. The final list approved by the Executive will be approached to serve and will be advised that their selection will be dependent on the ratification of the CAUT Council. When someone declines, the Executive will be asked to name a replacement who will then be approached.

(c) The final list of committee members will be presented to the Spring Council for ratification. Should Council refuse to ratify one or more candidates, the matter will be referred back to the Executive who will bring a revised list to the same Council meeting.

(d) When a casual vacancy occurs on the Committee, the Executive will select a replacement after consultation with member associations and recommend the replacement for ratification at the next meeting of Council. The replacement will serve the remainder of the vacant term.

5 Nomination and election procedures for a person to chair

(a) The person to chair the Committee shall normally have served at least one year on the Committee. The Chair shall serve for the term indicated in section 2(c).

(b) The Chair of the Committee shall be elected by CAUT Council. The deadline for nomination shall be March 1 of the year that the incumbent's term expires. Any vacancy, howsoever occurring in the position of Chair, shall be filled by Council electing a successor. Any person, so elected, shall hold office for the balance of the term of the office involved.

(c) The election of a person to chair shall be conducted prior to the Council's ratification of the members of the Committee.

(d) When a casual vacancy in the position of Person Chairing occurs, the meeting shall be convened by the President. The first item of business shall be the election of an interim person to chair from among the members present, and the President shall chair the meeting for this item only.

6 Mode of operation

(a) The Committee shall normally meet two times a year. There shall be provision for additional meetings by telephone conference call or in person, as the need determines.

(b) The Committee may at its discretion delegate special tasks to its Chair, or to appropriate sub-committees, who shall report back to the full Committee for ratification of policies or intended actions, before these are put before the CAUT Executive Committee and Council.

(c) The minutes of the Committee are confidential to the members. The Committee may make available, from time to time, excerpts from the minutes to concerned parties.

(d) A quorum for meetings of the Committee is 50% of the voting members.

(e) The Committee shall be conscious of and sensitive to the issues of conflict of interest and apprehension of bias. A Committee member who perceives an issue of possible conflict of interest or apprehension of bias of their own, or on the part of another member, whether it arises from personal involvement or through the involvement of the member's local or provincial association, shall raise it. The matter shall be discussed and then resolved by the remaining members of the Committee who may direct the member to absent himself/herself, impose specified limitation on the member's involvement, or conclude that no action needs to be taken.

7 Reporting

(a) The Committee shall report regularly to the Executive and to Council through its Chair.

(b) The Committee shall prepare a written report for presentation at the Spring meeting of the Council.

8 Status of academic administrators on CAUT Standing Committees

Whenever a member of a standing committee accepts an appointment (whether temporary or continuing) to a senior administrative position (for example, President, Vice-President, Counsel or Advisor to the President, Dean, Associate Dean, Assistant Dean) or, in the case of a faculty association which has entered into a collective agreement, to any administrative position which excludes its occupant from membership in the bargaining unit, the member shall notify the Elections and Resolutions Committee. After consulting with the member's faculty association and the standing committee to which the member belongs, the Elections and Resolutions Committee shall report to Council which shall determine whether or not the individual shall be replaced (using the usual procedure for choosing members to standing committees).
Approved by Council, May l980; amended, May l983, May l985, May l986,
January l988; editorial revisions, April l989, May 1990; amended January 1991, September 1991, September 1992, November 1994, April 1995, May 1996,
November 1996, April 2001, April 2002, May 2004.