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CAUT Bulletin Archives

January 2012

CAUT Launches Inquiry at Queen’s over Course Cancellation, Reassignment

CAUT has established an ad hoc investigatory committee to examine Queen’s University’s treatment of history professor Michael Mason.
In late October his history class (HIST 283, Making of the Third World) was cancelled and the course subsequently reassigned to another faculty member after Mason was accused of racism for quotes he included in his lectures from historical documents he felt showed the persistence of colonial attitudes in contemporary times.
Mason retired from the history department at Concordia Uni­versity in 1997 and has been an adjunct professor of history at Queen’s since 2000.
The members of the investiga­tory committee are Bernie Hammond, associate professor of sociology and coordinator of the social justice and peace studies program at King’s University College, affiliated with the University of Western Ontario, and Johannes Wolfart, associate professor in the College of the Humanities at Carleton University.
In a letter to Queen’s University principal Daniel Woolf, CAUT executive director James Turk advised the investigatory committee’s terms of reference were to investigate the university’s handling of complaints made against Mason in relation to his HIST 283 course last fall; to determine whether there were any violations of substantive or procedu­ral fairness in the investigation of Mason and subsequent actions taken as a result of that investigation; to determine whether there were breaches of or threats to Mason’s aca­dem­ic freedom and other faculty rights; and to make any appropriate recommendations.
The investigatory committee will submit its report to CAUT later this year.