CAUT and the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) joined voices with French educators to condemn the murder of a history teacher in France.
History and geography teacher Samuel Paty was killed after showing students Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad to stimulate discussion on freedom of expression.
French teachers' unions condemned the attack and saw it as a reminder that teachers potentially place their lives at risk in practicing their profession.
In a recent statement by Education International, General Secretary David Edwards said educational institutions and their staff must be free to prepare young people for the exercise of critical thinking, an essential condition for full citizenship.
In the joint statement, CAUT and FQPPU write: “Everywhere across the world, colleges and universities must continue to produce research and to disseminate knowledge, and remain places where debate is encouraged. To achieve this, academic freedom must be supported and defended loudly and clearly, as a matter of public interest. In order to properly fulfill their roles, professors and teachers from all countries must have the right to teach, learn, study and publish without fear of being censored, targeted by fundamentalism, or threatened with reprisals or discrimination, both within their institutions and in the public space.”