(Ottawa – March 7, 2017) The Canadian Association of University Teachers says the University of Ottawa's Dean of Medicine has violated the principle of academic freedom by warning faculty against expressing their political views in public.
In a memo issued last month, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn advised faculty against expressing “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 CAUT Executive Director David 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 says the University of Ottawa should immediately ask the Dean of Medicine to retract his comments and reassure faculty that no action will be taken against those who exercise their academic freedom.
“Academic freedom is important because scholars must be able to openly voice their views without fear of reprisal in order for society to advance knowledge about ourselves and our world,” Robinson adds.
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