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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2009

Victor Sim, 1928–2008

Victor Sim lost his battle with cancer last month. He was 80.
Victor Sim lost his battle with cancer last month. He was 80.
Victor Sim passed away in Ottawa on Dec. 7, after a brief illness. Vic joined CAUT in 1973, where he served as associate executive secretary until his retirement in 1988. Throughout this period he also served as secretary of CAUT’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee, in addition to a one-year stint as acting executive secre­tary.

Born in Scotland, Vic was educated in Canada and worked for a decade as a geographer of the High Arctic region with the federal government before deciding on an academic career. He earned a PhD in geography from McGill University then taught for a decade at the University of Western Onta­rio, including three years as chair of his department, prior to coming to CAUT.

A central player in the development of policy statements adopted by CAUT Council, Vic maintained an unshakable conviction of the university as a place of liberty, of the need for pluralism and tolerance, and of the importance of academic freedom and tenure in the contemporary university. In 1990, Vic, cited as the “heart and soul” of CAUT’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee over his 15 years, received the Milner Memorial Award, the greatest recognition CAUT can give for distinguished contributions to the cause of academic freedom.

“Vic was able to exert influence on a range of difficult issues that came before the or­ganization in the 1970s and 1980s,” said CAUT executive director James Turk. “He was a man of strong principles and integrity. His loss will be deeply felt by all he touched within CAUT and the wider academic community.”