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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 1998

TechBC Boycott to End?

The CAUT Executive Committee and the presidents of member associations of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA/BC) have given approval to discussions between the two organizations and representatives of the Technical University of British Columbia (TechBC) in an attempt to end an international boycott of the new institution.

"The administration and governors of TechBC cannot change the defective legislation," said CAUT President Bill Bruneau. "But there are things they could do that might help to answer our objections to the legislation's provisions on academic governance, academic freedom, and tenure."

"In order that we can have a full exchange of views, all parties have agreed to keep the details of the discussions confidential until there is agreement, or the discussions break off," said Tony Sheppard, CUFA/BC President.

CAUT and CUFA/BC initiated an international boycott of the institution in July of 1997 when the Technical University of British Columbia Act became law. The legislation places academic decision making power in the hands of a board of governors, rather than a senate, and gives the board specific powers that CAUT and CUFA/BC believe could easily lead to violations of academic freedom. This position was supported by the international academic community in early February, when delegates to the International Conference of University Teacher Organizations meeting in Melbourne, Australia, gave their unanimous support to a resolution calling on the Government of British Columbia to revise the TechBC legislation to create an academic senate and to guarantee academic freedom.

CAUT and CUFA/BC continue to warn those seeking academic employment at TechBC that they have no assured role in academic decision making at the new institution and that their academic freedom may not be secure. "The boycott remains in place until all matters are resolved," Dr. Bruneau said.