Back to top

Investigation finds violations of academic freedom at Laurentian

An investigation into Laurentian University has concluded that senior officials have routinely violated academic freedom and principles of collegial governance.

An investigatory committee was established by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) following numerous complaints by faculty at Laurentian, including allegations that administrators changed grades without instructors’ agreement, blocked the appointment of elected chairs, interfered in hiring decisions, and improperly used discipline.

“[W]e were left with a disturbing picture of an environment in which the principles of academic freedom and collegial governance are not consistently adhered to,” the Committee’s report concludes. “We found numerous incidents…in which university officials appeared to have acted outside of the applicable academic rules, failed to respect principles of collegial governance and improperly used or threatened to use disciplinary powers.”

The report notes that the actions of university officials have led many faculty to conclude that their academic freedom is under threat.

“[W]e want to emphasize the overarching need for the university administration to affirm its support for and commitment to the principles of academic freedom and collegial governance and their application in the day to day governance of the university.”

The report was prepared by: Dr. Sheila Embleton, FRSC, Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics, York University; and, Professor Eric Tucker, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University.

Download the full report