(Ottawa, October 13, 2021) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) joins the Fédération Québecoise des Professeures et Professeurs d’Université (FQPPU) and the Syndicat des professeurs et professeures de l’Université Laval (SPUL) in denouncing Laval University’s proposed changes to its statutes which would undermine the core principle of collegial governance.
“Collegial governance is at the heart of how universities run. The principle of shared governance results in a higher quality education, protects academic freedom, and underpins more democratic decision-making and accountability,” said David Robinson, CAUT Executive Director. “Academics from across the country should be outraged by the University administration’s attempt to undermine this core academic principle.”
The review process, which started in September 2019, had the stated objective of “modernizing” Laval’s statutes, but proposals put forward by the administration would limit the ability of academic staff to meaningfully participate in the academic governance of their institutions.
The most concerning recommendations would both limit the powers afforded the Conseil universitaire -- the academic Senate which governs research, teaching, and student affairs, and effective participation of academic staff.
“It has been well established and widely accepted that academic staff, through their participation in Senate and other academic governance bodies, exercise the primary responsibility for decision-making on all academic matters,” noted Robinson. “This must be maintained by all institutions to ensure the quality and integrity of the academic mission."
Members of SPUL and concerned organizations and individuals can participate in a consultation around the new statute recommendations until Friday, October 15 by contacting the Secretary General at Monique.Richer@sg.ulaval.ca. A detailed account of SPUL’s concerns with the proposed recommendations are available here.