May 222014

We are pleased that the announcement from the Board of Governors about the change in leadership stated “in the strongest possible terms, that the University of Saskatchewan is committed to the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. It would also like to stress that it believes that tenure is a sacrosanct principle within this university.”

The USFA eagerly awaits word from the Board about their ill-considered delegation of authority to the President to veto tenure and promotion decisions. As hundreds of you have indicated, we have a very rigorous peer evaluation process which is much superior to the arbitrary judgment of a single individual.

May 202014

The fact that the Board of Governors remains silent on their decision to delegate veto power over tenure and promotion decisions to the President is a sign of failed leadership.

Two of our members have received a positive recommendation for tenure by the appropriate collegial bodies on campus and are awaiting a tenure decision by the Board. The Board has unlawfully delegated veto power to the President, who, until yesterday insisted on meeting with the affected individuals to “discuss” their case. Yesterday, after our press release expressed grave concern on this fundamentally important academic issue, we were informed that the meetings with the two faculty members and the President to determine their academic/professional fate were cancelled. This has left our two colleagues in a suspended state of indefinite academic purgatory as neither member has yet to see a letter granting them tenure.

On an individual level such treatment is insensitive and inhumane. On the academic front it violates the very principles of natural justice, tramples on collegial self-governance, and it flies in the face of our Collective Agreement. It is simply shameful. Two individuals who have been recommended for tenure by appropriate collegial committees on campus may lose their job at the end of next month unless something meaningful is done immediately. Such actions by the President and Board undermine and threaten the very foundation of tenure and the principles of academic freedom. The faculty on this campus and around the world should be outraged. Have we entered an era where there is complete disregard for our collegial processes and collective agreement?

If the recent ruling of an arbitrator and Court of Queen’s Bench are wrong and the Board believes they are in compliance with the University of Saskatchewan Act, then the Act needs to be changed. Without such a change, there will be no hope that the University of Saskatchewan can repair the damage done to its internal collegial processes and national and international reputation.

May 192014

Notwithstanding the very public and powerful words last week from President Ilene Busch-Vishniac about the importance of tenure and academic freedom after reversing the decision to strip Professor Robert Buckingham of his tenure, there are clear indications that the tenure process at the University of Saskatchewan is under full attack. Despite assurances by the President […]

May 142014

Many of you will already know that the employment of Dr. Robert Buckingham, Executive Director of the School of Public Health, was terminated this morning. His termination letter, which can be found on the CBC News Saskatoon website, states that he irreparably damaged his relationship with the U of S and breached his employment contract, […]