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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2001

Council Votes to Create Academic Freedom Fund

On Nov. 23, CAUT Council delegates voted overwhelmingly to create the CAUT Academic Freedom Fund to aid CAUT and its local associations in vigorous defence of academic freedom. The fund's initial target is to raise $1 million.

Sick Kids Fires Top Genomics Scientist

A top University of Toronto scientist has been fired by the Hospital for Sick Children over a dispute about the future of the public domain GDB Human Genome Database.

Strike Vote at Dalhousie University

The 772 members of Dalhousie Faculty Association have voted to strike. Professors are seeking wage increases of 12 per cent over three years, faculty renewal provisions and improvements to family leaves.

Olivieri Report Deemed One-Sided, Anti-Business

CAUT recently published the report of the committee of inquiry into the case of Dr. Nancy Olivieri, the University of Toronto researcher who has been in an ongoing conflict with the pharmaceutical company Apotex.

Distance Education Vital Link for Many Women

As a women's studies professor I was delighted to see the "tribute" to my area of research and teaching in your recent Status of Women Supplement (Bulletin, October 2001). Women's Studies is still a relative newcomer to the academy and it is important that we have a better appreciation of its achievements and its struggles as part of a national and international academic community. The articles reminded me of the importance of celebrating our accomplishments, and honouring the many individuals whose vision, energy, dedication and determination are at the heart of the dynamic, transformatory project that is women's studies.

Cartoon Use Criticized

The cartoons you published in the November 2001 Bulletin reach new levels of offensiveness and ignorance.

Everyone Benefits from Public Hearings

Several months have lapsed since CAUT issued the report on the Halifax hearings held last spring. These hearings addressed the future of university education in Canada. Various issues were raised: tuition fees and student debt, public funding and commercialization, infrastructure, quality of education, and accessibility.

Trent Appeal Court Dissent Highlights Threat to Autonomy

A dispute at Trent University — the result of years of provincial underfunding — has led to a recent dissenting opinion in the Ontario Appeals Court. This dissent should raise alarms throughout the academic community concerning further intrusions by corporations or politicians into the academic independence of Canadian universities.

Agency Denounces Academics for Anti-War Sentiments

A powerful educational organization with strong links to the American government has published a list of more than 100 academics it claims are "failing America" by criticizing the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

Ontario Board Orders Discipline Hearing

An Ontario review board has sharply rebuked the province's College of Physicians and Surgeons for not conducting a disciplinary hearing for a doctor who anonymously issued intimidating letters to colleagues at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

Local Hearings to Resume

CAUT's local hearings initiative began again this fall with a number of additional events scheduled for the new year.

UVic Faculty Women's Caucus Supports Dr. Thobani's Right to Free Speech

At a meeting of the Faculty Women's Caucus of the University of Victoria on Oct. 24, the following statement in support of Professor Sunera Thobani of the UBC women's studies program was drafted. I am forwarding it to you with the names of all those caucus members who endorsed it.

UVicFA Supports Dr. Thobani's Rights

The following motion was unanimously approved at the University of Victoria Faculty Association General Meeting on Nov. 16, 2001 (brought forward by the UVic Faculty Association Status of Women Committee):

UBC Support for Dr. Thobani

As individual faculty or staff working at the University of British Columbia, we strongly endorse the UBC administration's support of academic freedom. Our colleague Dr. Sunera Thobani, like any faculty member, has the right to express her views on the effects of American foreign policy and globalization.

The 2001 Sarah Shorten Award

Internationally recognized biosafety expert Margaret-Ann Armour, cited as a "superb role model for women in science," was awarded the 2001 Sarah Shorten Award at the CAUT Council meeting in November.

CAUT Council Condemns Anti-Terror Legislation

Delegates to CAUT's annual fall council meeting unanimously supported a resolution condemning the Liberal's anti-terrorist bill for the threats it poses to civil liberties and academic freedom. CAUT urged the federal government to withdraw Bill C-36.

Nancy Olivieri Wins Milner Award

Nancy Olivieri, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Toronto, was awarded the Milner Memorial Award at the November 2001 CAUT Council meeting.

Engineering Profession Working for Change in Wake of Dec. 6 Tragedy

Twelve years have passed. Twelve times have Canadians mournfully remembered the date of Dec. 6, 1989 when at École Polytechnique, the University of Montreal's engineering school, 14 young women were massacred because they were women.

A Realistic Image of Science

Every time I give a course as a biology teacher I come to a point where the class has to confront what science is. What is the difference between a scientific explanation and a nonscientific one? Why do scientists accept the theory of evolution, for example, and flatly reject creationism? The class is never wholly satisfied with the answers we find to these questions and although part of the difficulty may lie in my ability to teach or students' willingness to learn, most of the difficulty is the nature of the question.

RESPs Favour the Wealthy in Canada

Statistics released this fall show that Canada's richest families are disproportionately benefiting from the federal government's education savings grant program.