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CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 2005

Conference Explores Post 9/11 World on Campus

The Harry Crowe Foundation will launch itself publicly with a North American conference on "Academic Freedom Post 9/11" to be held in Toronto, October 28-30, 2005.

"We are honoured that so many top scholars have agreed to participate in our first conference," said foundation president Howard Pawley.

The conference will open with consideration of difficult periods in the past when concerns about security threatened academic freedom. Andrew Bone from the Bertrand Russell Research Centre at McMaster University will talk about the sacking of Bertrand Russell by Trinity College, Cambridge in 1916. Lee Lorch and Chandler Davis, two distinguished Canadian academics, will reflect on their persecution during the McCarthy era of the 1950s in the United States and draw implications from that period for today.

The conference's focus will then shift to the current situation in North America and abroad. Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto and author of September 11: Consequences for Canada, and Queen's law professor Allan Manson will consider anti-terrorism initiatives in Canada and their implications for academic freedom and freedom of expression.

The following session will look at the same issues in the U.S. The speakers will be Robert O'Neil, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and a former president of the University of Virginia, and Jonathan R. Cole, John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and Provost and Dean of Faculties, Emeritus, Columbia University.

The third session will look beyond North America. Presenters will be Peter Leuprecht, director of the Institut d'études internationales de Montréal at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia, and Maureen Webb, a legal officer at CAUT and author of Global Surveillance, a report prepared for the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.

The pressure for increased secrecy in research will come under particular scrutiny during the next discussion. Ursula Franklin, University Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow at Massey College will examine secrecy in non-medical research. Nancy Olivieri, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, and Joel Lexchin, an associate professor in both the school of health policy and management at York University and the department of family and community medicine at the University of Toronto, will look at growing pressures for secrecy in medical research.

Jon Thompson, one of Canada's most distinguished experts on academic freedom, and Roland Penner, professor of law at the University of Manitoba and former attorney general of Manitoba, will conclude the conference with reflections on what needs to be done in the current context to preserve and expand academic freedom and freedom of expression amid growing pressures for security and restriction of free inquiry.