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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2002

United We Stand

Tom Booth
By the time you read this column CAUT will have a new president. Over the past two years, the association has encountered and dealt with a wide range of challenges and developments. Our accomplishments have been many.

In this time CAUT published The Corporate Campus, edited by James L. Turk, The Olivieri Report, by Jon Thompson, Patricia Baird and Jocelyn Downie (in its second printing) and Counting Out the Scholars, by William Bruneau and Donald C. Savage. These publications, joined by the launching of the CAUT Almanac of Post-Secondary Education in Canada, deeply enrich our understanding of the past, present and possible future of issues and problems currently confronting us.

Our ranks have grown with the addition of the College Institute Educators' Association of British Columbia, the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers and the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association. All three associations have already significantly contributed to the rich tapestry that we call CAUT.

The launch of the National Union of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the establishment of the Academic Freedom Fund embody the important standards that protect the quality of post-secondary education.

A special April 2001 Council event, recognizing CAUT's 50th year, unveiled an association banner designed, sewn and painted by Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge. Delegates were treated to a description of the banner by its artists followed by remembrances of CAUT by past presidents Howard McCurdy (1967- 1968), Ken McGovern (1982-1983), Pamela Smith (1988-1990), and William Bruneau 1996-1998. Donald C. Savage, executive director from 1972-1997, completed the historical collage and James Turk, current executive director, spoke to the future under CAUT's banner.

The striking, three-paneled banner captures the fabric of CAUT and symbolizes the past and future of the association. When not on display at Council meetings, it resides in the salon at 2675 Queensview Drive, the national headquarters. I encourage all members of CAUT to go and see what we are and what we stand for.

We were privileged to have Margaret-Ann Armour accept the Sarah Shorten Award, Nancy Olivieri accept the Milner Award and Don White accept the Academic Librarians Distinguished Service Award. These individuals, following in the footsteps of distinguished recipients of the respective awards, epitomize the commitments of CAUT to organizational leadership, policy implementation, legislation, publication, educational initiatives and dedicated service in advancement of women in Canadian universities, understanding and strengthening of academic freedom, and advancement of the status and working conditions of academic librarians. It is the dedication of individuals like these that makes CAUT a vibrant and enduring organization. Our good fortune is that we are blessed by advocates such as Armour, Olivieri and White.

Not only are we blessed from within our ranks, but individuals outside our association have taken up the call of the issues and challenges facing post-secondary education. The fall Council of 2001 saw the establishment for awards in post-secondary education journalism and the first recipients are Simon Rabinovitch, copy editor of the McGill Daily, for his article "Corporations Limiting Academic Freedom?" and Globe and Mail reporter Anne McIlroy for her article "Under Siege in the Ivory Tower." We are indebted to journalists such as Simon and Anne, and many others, who advance our issues, even in the face of concerted opposition. It is our privilege to be able to recognize their contributions.

Despite all of the above accomplishments, our greatest treasure is our strong affiliation with students, particularly the Canadian Federation of Students. Together, we have addressed many of the issues confronting post-secondary education. United, we have advanced the cause of universal, accessible, affordable, comprehensive, publicly accountable and transparent colleges and universities.

The struggle for our institutions and what they stand for continues and we can only be made more effective by a sustained, strong alliance with students ... students like the hundreds I met over the course of my tenure as president. We must concertedly endeavour to remain united and engaged.