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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2009

CAUT Expands Reynolds Inquiry

Committee asked to determine if firing was consistent with tenure policies.

When the University of Manitoba chose not to reappoint Larry Reynolds as head of family medicine at the university, CAUT established an ad hoc investigatory committee to determine whether the university violated its policy on academic appointments and whether it violated Reynolds’ aca­demic freedom.

The terms of reference were expanded last month after the university terminated Reynolds’ appointment as a tenured full professor. The committee was asked to determine if the process by which Reynolds was terminated was consistent with CAUT’s statement of policy on tenure and if it was in accord with the UofM’s policy for term of appointment and tenure.

In a strongly worded letter to university president Robert Bar­nard, CAUT executive director James Turk said it appears the “university’s treatment of Dr. Rey­nolds is unacceptable, if not reprehensible.”

He continued, “The manner of his non-reappointment as head is one matter of concern, but it pales in comparison to his termination as a tenured full professor. There appears to have been neither due process nor even recognition that Dr. Reynolds is a tenured full professor who can only be dismissed for just cause and through an appropriate process.”

According to Turk, the university’s apparent disregard of the nature of Reynolds’ appointment as well as its disregard for its own procedures raise questions of concern for every tenured faculty member at the university and raise questions for the larger Canadian academic community about the integrity of tenure at the University of Manitoba.

“We are expanding the terms of reference of our ad hoc investigatory committee to include the termination of Dr. Reynolds by the University,” Turk’s letter stated. “If the situation is as it appears, it must be remedied in a manner that restores Dr. Reynolds’ tenured position and that assures faculty at the university and across Canada that tenure means something at the University of Manitoba.”

Reynolds, a full professor and head of the department of family medicine at the UofM since 2001, was formerly professor of family med­icine at the University of Western Ontario where he received the Ian McWhinney Teaching Award for Excellence in Resident Teaching.

Members of the CAUT committee charged with investigating the Reynolds case are Robert Mil­­ler, chairman of the department of family medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ernest Redekop, professor emeritus of Eng­lish at the University of Western Ontario and Colin Stuttard, professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology at Dalhousie University.