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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 1998

BC Boosts Funding & Freezes Tuition

British Columbia's post-secondary institutions will receive a $26-million boost in funding according to the March 30 provincial budget, which includes $17.5-million to create 2,900 new student spaces.

Concern over Law coverage

A recent issue of the Bulletin featured two items on Memorial University's dispute with its former dean of science, Dr. Alan Law.

MUNFA comments on Dr. Tuinman's letter

Dr. Tuinman will of course have his own perspective on the CAUT Bulletin's coverage of the Law affair at Memorial, as do MUNFA and other parties involved. The background information MUNFA provided was factual, and in our view speaks for itself. However, we appreciate the opportunity to make a few additional comments in light of Dr. Tuinman's reaction.

CAUT Defence Fund Report

Trustees of the fund have been called on a total of three times already in 1998 to consider requests for strike benefits.

Vote Ends TechBC Boycott

On the recommendation of the CAUT Executive Committee, CAUT Council has voted to rescind the boycott on the Technical University of British Columbia. The official lifting of the boycott follows extensive negotiations between officials of Canada's newest university and representatives from CAUT and CUFA/BC. A tentative agreement had been reached between the parties in early March, but lifting of the boycott required ratification by CAUT Council.

When Research Ethics & the Law Conflict

Russel Ogden, a graduate student in criminology at Simon Fraser University, was subpoenaed in 1994 to appear before Vancouver Coroner's Court to ascertain whether he could throw light on the cause of death of "Jane Doe." The Coroner was told that two persons associated with the death had participated in Ogden's thesis research on assisted suicide and euthanasia in the AIDS community. As far as we know, Ogden is the only Canadian researcher to have been asked by a court to divulge confidential information.

Awards of Merit

Killam Prizes

Our Promise to Children

This little book is about children and what we can do to make sure they thrive; it is for a Canadian audience and uses examples of programs and studies in Canada where possible. The book starts with facts and data about what helps children thrive. It continues, in an easy-to-read and informal manner, to give examples of studies, interventions and programs that work to help children. The simplicity, direct manner, clarity and abundant practical information make it very useful for anyone working with children or programs that help them.

Leasing the Ivory Tower: The Corporate Takeover of Academia

A married man with a family will do anything for money," Talleyrand is supposed to have said. Lawrence C. Soley's research indicates that the French statesman's quip has wider application. American universities seem willing to accept money for just about any purpose, professorial venality seems to have few limits, and conflicts of interest seem to be widespread. Soley's thesis is that corporations and wealthy individuals are systematically corrupting U.S. universities and professors with money whose main purpose is to enhance the interests of those who are giving the money. It is intended to finance research that will augment corporate profitability, to justify the dominance of the free enterprise ethos, and to train students to be useful employees of transnational corporations. Soley, who teaches communications at Marquette University, shows that some academics do nicely for themselves, collecting patents, stock options, consultancies, and lecture fees. None feeds more voraciously from the private trough than many medical researchers and professors of business administration, but some social scientists also get their dippers in. Administrators are well-rewarded, especially if they have some link to fund-raising. Most professors in the humanities, on the other hand, unable to attract money from the corporate sector, are the poor cousins of the academic world. The main losers, Soley argues, are taxpayers, some of whose money gets used to enrich the feed, students, who get little or no attention from academic "superstars," and badly-paid part-timers and graduate students who do much of the actual teaching. Academic principles suffer under the weight of corporate funding, Soley writes. He spends next to no time discussing what these principles are, however. For example, although he claims that academic freedom is reduced, he does not indicate how. Indeed, it is unclear what he believes academic freedom to be. His suggestions for change are brief and almost perfunctory, as though he expects few readers to take them seriously. Soley is occasionally guilty of overgeneralization and hyperbole. More disappointing is that he fails to found his often-valid and damning critique in a historical analysis of U.S. universities. In The Higher Learning in America (1918), Thorstein Veblen was already discussing some of the issues that concern Soley. The "corporate takeover" of American higher education has been going on for a long time. Soley's study is a useful muck-raking guide to present-day abuses.

Waterloo Ratifies Special Plan

On May 27, faculty members at the University of Waterloo voted 93 per cent in favour of a "special plan" memorandum of agreement between the faculty association and the university. The board of governors ratified the agreement on June 1. The agreement will remain in effect until April 30, 2000.

What's Wrong with Dialogue on Education?

The public dialogue about universities has been changing in significant ways that threaten universities and the future of Canada itself. The change has come in the form of a narrowing down of the purposes and benefits of higher education. The harm has been caused by the continued underfunding of universities by the federal and provincial governments.