On May 27, 30 members of the Association of Professors Emeriti of the University of Alberta convened under the rubric of The Canadian Association of Emeriti and Retired Academics (CAERA) provided for in the program of the "Learneds" each year since emeriti started talking about such an organization in 1994.
In the morning they listened to an account of the commercialization of universities given by Tom Pocklington of the political science department of the University of Alberta. Pocklington's theme was the erosion of academic freedom as widely interpreted – especially by pharmaceutical and technological firms in pursuit of research interests in university departments.
For many of his listeners this immediately raised much broader issues: Who owns the intellectual property produced in the university, a publicly supported institution? And, should the university be an 'ivory tower' standing well away from those who might for their own purposes seek to subvert or to suppress the propagation of the truth which the university exists to discover?
After lunch in the Emeritus House, R.D. Bramwell of the University of Calgary Emeritus Association was invited to speak about the development and purposes of CAERA.
Bramwell said the Alberta association of emeriti professors was fortunate not only in having an Emeritus House provided by the university at a token rent, but also in having nine hours of secretarial time each week provided by
the administration. "It is partly so that association may learn from association that CAERA exists," he said.