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CAUT Bulletin Archives

September 1997

No Senate, No Tenure, No Academic Freedom

Canada's newest university is under an academic cloud as the result of a boycott by the national organization of university professors. In an advertisement placed in the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) warns potential employees that unlike other universities, the Technical University of British Columbia (Tech BC) does not provide academic staff with an "assured role in determining and directing teaching and research."

Swim Coach at Simon Fraser University Reinstated

The press both in British Columbia and across the nation gave great prominence this summer to the sexual harassment case involving Liam Donnelly, the 29-year-old swim coach at Simon Fraser University. The University first fired Mr. Donnelly for sexual harassment and then reinstated him with back pay and the payment of his legal bills up to $35,000 -- all within a period of two months. The Globe and Mail estimated the university's own legal fees at between $50,000 and $100,000 in addition to $12,000 it had promised to the complainant. How did this come about and what effect will this case have on sexual harassment policies at SFU and in other universities?

Humanities division in chaos as Otago University restructures

On July 7 CAUT sent the following letter to Dr. Graeme Fogelburg, Vice-Chancellor of Otago University at the request of the Association of University Staff of New Zealand:

Premiers agree to seek solutions to student debt

You may be aware that the Premiers discussed the issue of student assistance at their recent conference. They have agreed to seek solutions to the issue of student assistance involving both federal and provincial governments. In addition, they devoted their attention to the broader issue of youth employment. As a result of their discussions, the Premiers have asked their labour ministers to develop options that would enhance youth employment.

Affirmative action not just a gender issue

I received the supplement (Bulletin, April) with Ms. Bruneau's excellent article. Concerning Professor Irvine's article in Dialogue, I wonder why he focused on the gender issue. If he were truly against affirmative action, it seems to me he would have focused on the preferential hiring of Canadians by Canadian universities. Everyone knows non-Canadians don't get hired to teach in Canadian universities unless there are no Canadians for those slots.

B.C. education minister joins CAUT in support of student aid measures

I am writing in support of the initiative that the Canadian Association of University Teachers and six other post-secondary education groups took in urging the federal government to adopt student aid measures to help students deal with rising debt loads.

Education ministers support UNESCO rights statement

CAUT has been one of the leaders in lobbying UNESCO to adopt an international statement on the rights and responsibilities of teachers in higher education. The proposed recommendation will be before the general convention of UNESCO in early November. The recently received and welcome letter from the Council of Ministers of Education indicates that Canada will be actively supporting the proposed statement.

CAUT protests the closing of the University of Nairobi

On July 16 CAUT sent the following letter to His Excellency Daniel T. Arap Moi, President of Kenya:

Canadian research funding

We, members of the Canadian Association for Responsible Research Funding, feel compelled to draw attention to a dismal state of university research funding in Canada. The problem in our opinion is not so much of "money shortage" but of an almost complete monopolization of research funding by a relatively small group of privileged grantees at NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) and MRC (Medical Research Council).

Twenty Years of Collective Bargaining

About 40 delegates gathered from across the country recently to participate in the 20th Annual Collective Bargaining Conference at Val David, Quebec. Both collective bargaining training and policy workshops were offered over the five days of the conference held at the Hotel La Sapiniere, and organized by CAUT's Collective Bargaining and Economic Benefits Committee.

Radical Reforms

University staff in New Zealand are shocked at the content of a leaked briefing document prepared by Government of New Zealand officials for the ministers of Education and Finance.

A Federal Five-Year Plan?

Last fall CAUT joined with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Canadian Consortium for Research to propose a series of policy recommendations to the federal government to deal with the funding crisis in university research. This document, Putting Knowledge to Work, was favourably received in governmental circles. The major result was the announcement in the last federal budget of the creation of the Canada Foundation for Innovation designed to provide funding capital of $800 million over the next five years for research infrastructure in universities and associated institutions.

Battle Over Fisheries Policy

The long hot summer has been a little longer and a lot hotter for officials at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They have spent the latter part of June and July fending off accusations of bureaucratic and political meddling into research conducted by their own researchers and scientists.

Lobby Urges Student Aid Reform

Last January CAUT joined with six other organizations representing university administrations and students to call for improved federal funding of student aid.

Using Newsgroups to Enhance Discussion

An electronic newsgroup can be a simple and effective extension to an educational experience for both students and instructors. What is a course news-group? A newsgroup is one type of Internet-based communication that is often compared to an electronic bulletin board. For a course newsgroup, the board is targeted specifically at the students and instructors in that course.

Communications Decency Act Violates First Amendment

On June 26, The United States Supreme Court took its first dip into the unknown legal waters of the Internet. The court ruled 7-2 to uphold a 1996 decision by a federal court in Philadelphia which deemed that the federal Communications Decency Act violated the first amendment.

Final Consultation Process Underway

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) have received the final report of the Tri-Council Working Group on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

How to Succeed in Business Schools

Because academics tend to be an individualistic lot, accounts such as this one about how to succeed in what we do are few and far between. Only seldom does an author such as McKeachie write on tips for teaching or Boyce on how to enjoy a successful academic career.

Tech BC Sells Academic Freedom by Degrees

Universities have never been perfectly free, nor have they been entirely autonomous. In the late Middle Ages and the early Reformation, they looked over their shoulders, worried about royal or papal intervention. Even in the early nineteenth century, as universities became openly committed to advanced research in support of advanced teaching, universities in Europe and in North America knew the state would not be indifferent if they made "radical" curricular choices.