Delegates at CAUT’s Council meeting in Ottawa last month voted unanimously to lift the censure against First Nations University of Canada.
CAUT acted to impose censure in November 2008 — a step that hadn’t been used in almost 30 years — amid concerns over governance issues that had brought about attacks on academic freedom and allegations of financial mismanagement.
“Back in 2008 we took that very serious step hoping it would help encourage change, and that change has come,” CAUT executive director James Turk told delegates.
Under the leadership of newly-elected Chief Guy Lonechild, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has made marked changes over the past two months that have addressed concerns about the university’s governance structure, and built a new partnership agreement involving First Nations University, the University of Regina and the Government of Saskatchewan to ensure financial and administrative accountability.
“Now that these reform efforts have been taken, the biggest threat to the university’s survival is the federal government, which so far has refused to restore full funding,” Turk said.
“We were once one of the loudest voices in the country when it came to calling for changes at First Nations University. Those changes have been made, we’re backing the changes, and now is the time for the government to do its part.”
With the lifting of censure, academic staff in Canada and internationally will no longer be discouraged from accepting appointments or invitations to participate in conferences and other events at the institution.