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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2001

Mt. Allison Professor Turns Down Emeritus

George De Benedetti, retired professor of economics at Mount Allison University, has turned down an appointment as professor emeritus to protest the university's treatment of a former colleague. "While I am honoured to have been recognized in this way by the senate and the board of regents, I must postpone my acceptance until the board acts on the recommendation of the senate to confer this same recognition on Professor Michael Thorpe," said De Benedetti. In 1998, Thorpe was recommended unanimously for the honorary title by the university's senate, but the board of regents rejected the recommendation. He attributes the board's opposition to his very public criticism of the administration -- particularly outgoing president Ian Newbould. Thorpe had a distinguished career at Mount Allison and was internationally recognized for his scholarly and creative work. "No such recommendation by senate had ever been rejected by a board of regents at Mount Allison," De Benedetti said. The senate has recommended the honorary title for Thorpe four times since 1998. De Benedetti, former president of the Mount Allison Faculty Association, is the second faculty member to refuse the honorary title in as many years. Dr. Charles Scobie, a distinguished retired professor of religious studies, refused his appointment in 1999, citing the board's treatment of Professor Thorpe. CAUT's Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee launched an investigation into the Thorpe affair in 1999.