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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2013

King’s found to have violated academic freedom

CAUT has released an investigatory committee report into action taken against a professor by administrators at King’s University College.

Professor Ken Luckhardt was banned from the campus after writing a letter to the principal and academic dean, following his retirement, expressing grave concerns about what was happening in the program in which he had taught.

The report concluded that the principal and dean acted inappropriately by publicly releasing the private correspondence that Luckhardt had sent them. In doing so, the report finds that the administrators caused difficulties for other faculty and created an environment that discourages staff from criticizing the administration, even in private letters. The report finds that Luckhardt’s academic freedom was violated.

The report recommends that the ban be rescinded. It also recommends that Luckhardt be invited to submit a revised critique of the program without the comments about former colleagues that were in the original correspondence. Finally it makes two procedural recommendations. One is that the administration and faculty association work together to revise the King’s University College harassment and discrimination policy in order to balance academic freedom rights with the institution’s policy against harassment. The other is that the academic community at King’s works to develop a set of policies and guidelines that reflect appropriate professional conduct and best practice with respect to the release of private and privileged information by the administration.

Members of the ad hoc investiga­tory committee were Albert Katz, a professor in the psychology department at Western University and Jonathan Haxell, a professor in the department of archaeology and classical studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.