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Investigation launched into U of Calgary academic freedom controversy

The Canadian Association of University Teachers today announced a formal investigation into alleged academic freedom violations at the University of Calgary.

The decision follows a CBC investigation into the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability that raised concerns about inappropriate corporate influence.

“The allegations concerning the University of Calgary are of national concern to the profession and to the public,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “The purpose of the investigation will be to uncover the facts and, if problems are discovered, make recommendations about how universities and colleges can better manage donor agreements.”

The CAUT investigatory committee will be asked to look into charges of conflict of interest, violations of academic freedom, and donor interference surrounding the establishment and operation of the Enbridge Centre.

The committee will also investigate the circumstances involving the departure of the first Director of the Centre to determine if academic freedom was infringed, and consider other issues related to the management of donations at the University of Calgary.

The investigatory committee will be chaired by Dr. Len Findlay, FRSC, Professor in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan.  Other members of the committee are Dr. Alison Hearn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario; and Dr. Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

CAUT has conducted more than 40 academic freedom investigations since 1958.