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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2002

CAUT Updates Procedures for Academic Freedom Cases

In response to the Olivieri committee of inquiry recommendations, CAUT Council revised procedures for handling of academic freedom complaints.

"The new procedures allow for a more expeditious handling of complaints and a greater range of options to get matters effectively resolved," said CAUT president Vic Catano. "We now have provisions for both our traditional ad hoc investigatory committees and new provisions for independent committees."

In its findings issued last fall, the authors of the Olivieri report recommended CAUT "review and revise its policies ... so as to be in a position to promptly intervene to ensure expeditious access to a fair and effective resolution process." The report also called for new procedures to ensure "the independence of committees of inquiry into cases that are prima facie serious."

The authors noted had CAUT been able to take quicker action in the Olivieri case, events might have developed in a different way.

"CAUT took the committee's comments and recommendations very seriously," Catano said. "We feel we now have a system that will serve us well in defending academic freedom."

He said the changes adopted by Council will also expand the role of CAUT's Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee to undertake education and advocacy with members and the public on issues of academic freedom and tenure.

"The committee of inquiry stressed the importance of CAUT doing more to make our members aware of the importance of academic freedom and of the responsibility of all academics to uphold and defend it," Catano said.