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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2006

UCN: Censure Debate Delayed

CAUT Council agreed last month to postpone consideration of censure of University College of the North until its November 2006 meeting to allow the parties to respond to CAUT’s concerns.

“We have taken this decision to postpone our considerations as our discussions with the UCN administration have led to some progress,” said Greg Allain, president of CAUT. “It’s an issue of timing. They’re bargaining a new contract and we wanted to give them a chance to remedy the serious problems that prompted our concerns.”

CAUT last year expressed concern about the lack of provisions for academic freedom, tenure and collegial governance rights for academic staff at UCN.

James Turk, executive director of CAUT, said two of the issues can be easily resolved in bargaining — an unambiguous commitment to academic freedom and the adoption of procedures to protect academic freedom, including the introduction of tenure, typical university financial exigency procedures and promotion and tenure practices to ensure only academic staff sit on tenure committees.

“CAUT’s other two concerns arise from the provincial legislation that created the university,” Turk said. “One is that UCN’s equivalent of a senate doesn’t have the power to set educational policy for the institution, and the other is that the advanced education minister has the power to impose programs on the institution.”

CAUT has called on the government of Manitoba to amend the act to bring provisions at UCN in line with those of other universities in the province.

Turk reiterated that CAUT continues to monitor the events unfolding at UCN. “There’s no question that we hope once we resolve issues with the institution, the government will take the final steps necessary to avoid censure,” he said. “What we’re asking of the government is to put academic staff at UCN on an equal footing with academic staff at Manitoba’s other institutions that offer university degrees.”