October 1997 How Not to Rationalize the Universities At a press conference in Halifax on August 29 "Rationalization of the Nova Scotia Universities" was released -- a CAUT commissioned report that criticizes the Nova Scotia Government's rationalization of the province's universities between 1991 and 1996. CAUT Responds to Tri-Council Code The federal granting agencies -- the Medical Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council -- have issued the third and final report of the tri-council working group on ethical conduct for research involving humans. Across the country, professors oppose legislation to create TechBC ... The traditions of collegial academic decisionmaking in a context of the freedom to pursue inquiry wherever it leads without the constraints of received opinion or deference to prescribed doctrine or fear of arbitrary dismissal have served universities in the free world well. The complete abrogation of these traditions suggests that the intention is not to create a university but, rather to create a publicly funded trade school competing with the private sector and arbitrarily credentially the product with something called, but not resembling, an academic degree ... Paul M. Woodard, President, Association of Academic Staff: University of Alberta Professors see no guarantees at TechBC ... On behalf of the members of the University of Calgary Faculty Association, I wish to express our deep concern over your government's refusal to protect academic freedom and free speech for instructors and researchers at the new Technical University of British Columbia. Your government's refusal to establish an academic senate or provisions for tenure at the Technical University has a chilling effect on scholarly activity, not just at this university or in British Columbia, but throughout Canada. That a New Democratic government has taken such an oppressive, precedent setting move is especially troubling. Unless the situation with regard to the Technical University changes within the next few weeks, we have no choice but to advise our members and graduate students at the University of Calgary to boycott this University. We feel we have a duty to advise all current and future academics of these policies which are likely to harm their ability to teach and conduct research without inappropriate intervention. These are policies which could easily hinder their academic careers and should be avoided by young scholars at all costs. On behalf of the 1,400 academic staff members at the University of Calgary, we urge you to immediately reconsider your decision and protect academic freedom in BC ... M. Anne Stalker, President, The University of Calgary Faculty Association TechBC administrator defends new institution I was recently hired into the president's office at TechBC. Some of you may remember me as last year's president of the Dalhousie Faculty Association. I was at Dalhousie for six years, and involved with the faculty association for four of those six years. I believe that during that time I demonstrated my commitment to the founding principles of post-secondary education. I accepted a position at TechBC because I see it as an exciting new opportunity, both for myself and for the people of BC. I am absolutely convinced that those involved in the creation of TechBC are as committed to the principle of academic freedom as any academics I have ever met. CAUT sees no good grounds for backing down The CAUT has no quibble with policies to improve participation rates in post-secondary education. Nor does the CAUT oppose new ways of organizing teaching and research in any field. We would not be opposed on principle to TechBC had the British Columbia government provided the new institution with the instruments of collegial self-government, with guarantees of academic freedom and tenure, and with an academic senate or equivalent. Indeed, we offered, many times, to discuss ways of attaining these objectives that would help the British Columbia government to get its way, and still respect the basic requirements of modern academic life in the developed world. Our offers were never taken up. Academic Freedom & Tenure Guaranteed The newly minted Irish Universities Act now guarantees tenure for permanent academic staff and academic freedom for all academic staff -- two of many changes to the legislation vigorously lobbied for by the Irish Federation of Teachers. According to the federation, the process of lobbying was greatly assisted by the minority status of the government in the upper house of the Irish parliament. Federal Government to Change Canada's Pension System Federal Finance Minister Paul Martin's proposed reforms to the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP) loom large on this fall's parliamentary agenda. Mr. Martin's package also establishes the new Seniors Benefit to replace the existing Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) benefits in 2001. This draft legislation fundamentally changes Canada's pension system and will have a dramatic effect on government pension benefits for all retirees. UVic Accused of "Moral Shabbiness" The University of Victoria provoked a brief and vigorous row when it decided that it would offer an honorary degree to China's President, Jiang Zemin. The decision was made by the Senate in a 26-9 vote. By offering a degree to the Chinese President, Victoria clearly hoped to cash in on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in British Columbia. The President was destined to receive the degree in November when he was attending the summit. University of Toronto Student Awarded CAUT Fellowship The selection committee for the J.H. Stewart Reid Memorial Fellowship is pleased to announce that Brian Catlos has been awarded the Fellowship for 1997-98. Research Funding Pivotal to a Competitive Canada CAUT has joined with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Canadian Consortium for Research, the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, and the Canadian Graduate Council to propose a framework for action to the federal government for the funding of university research. Rationalization is a Recipe for Disaster At first, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Nova Scotia government talked about funding cuts, but not about "quality control." With declining trans-fer payments, the government claimed it had little choice. If health and education were to survive as public services there would either have to be tax increases or funding cuts -- or both.