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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1999

Ad's 'political agenda' draws opposition

Like most job ads, the one placed in the September issue of the Bulletin by the University of Toronto's Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Studies calls for expertise in a number of special fields, including Indigenous Women's Issues. There the similarity ends, for the ad goes on to state the "capacity to teach feminist methods and a record of community involvement would be assets" and "the successful candidate will bring a feminist and anti-racist perspective" to one or more of the specified fields.

Surely every reader of the Bulletin sees this is no ordinary job ad, but an attempt to recruit faculty activists to promote a definite political agenda and to indoctrinate university students in a prescribed ideology.

Since when is it permissible to make adherence to any doctrine a condition of appointment to a Canadian university? Since when is it possible to prescribe, not just areas of research and teaching emphasis, but the "perspective" to be adopted as well? Since when is "community involvement" (affiliation with certain groups?) a legitimate basis for the evaluation of candidates for an academic position?

According to official CAUT policy, the Bulletin "will not accept advertisements of academic positions restricting applications on grounds of ... political belief or affiliation." In addition, the criteria of evaluation set out in this ad violate the provisions of the CAUT model clause on academic freedom, which includes the phrase "regardless of prescribed doctrine."

Murray Miles
Philosophy, Brock University

Doreen Kimura
President, Society for Academic Freedom & Scholarship