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Open Letter from Hundreds of Canadian Academics

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Open Letter from Hundreds of Canadian Academics

Open Letter to Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan from Hundreds of Canadian Academics, May 19, 2014

A letter initiated by professors at the University of Alberta has, within 24 hours, and on a holiday weekend, obtained almost 850 signatures from academics across Canada. More signatures continue to come in. For updates, see here.

The letter’s signatories, coming from more than 15 different universities, are deeply concerned about the anti-democratic trends in university governance that are accompanying austerity measures in post-secondary institutions across the country. The recent events at the University of Saskatchewan reveal a form of governance that is hierarchical, disciplinary, and detached from the priorities of instructors, students, and support staff.

The reversal on May 15th of the decision to fire Professor Robert Buckingham, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan, from his position as a tenured professor is a necessary step, but does not resolve all of the problems which led to the decision in the first place and that are causing deep malaise among professors, staff and students.

The signatories of the open letter to the Chair of the Board of Governors at the U of S, Susan Milburn, wish to draw attention to the governance approach which led to Professor Buckingham’s dismissal and which discourages open, informed, collective decision-making. While the gasket has blown in spectacular style at the University of Saskatchewan, frustration with executive-style (rather than collegial) governance is brewing at campus everywhere in Canada.

The letter was sent by email on May 19th 2014 to Ms. Susan Milburn, Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan, with the request that she make its contents available to all members of the Board. It was copied to the Secretary of the Board, Ms. Elizabeth Williamson. We have not yet had confirmation of receipt of the letter from the Chair of the Board.

Laurie Adkin, Associate Professor, University of Alberta
Carolyn Sale, Associate Professor, University of Alberta
on behalf of the signatories

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