Hi everyone –
Three items have come up in the last two days that are time-sensitive, so just a quick note to address these items before we get into the long weekend.
First, the review for Vlad Spicanovic that Christine Bovis-Cnossen announced yesterday: it’s important that you give your positives and negatives as part of this process, you’ll note that the Vice-President invites you to send your comments either directly to the her office or, if you prefer, to us. We’ll collate the responses and then pass them along to the VPA in our association’s response. If you send your comments directly to the VPA, though, it would be helpful if you could cc OCADFA, so that we can factor as much information as possible into our response.
Second, many of you have seen the stories Wednesday and yesterday about the University of Saskatchewan firing Robert Buckingham, a professor there and the executive director of their school of public health, for publicly disagreeing with the president. Of course, Professor Buckingham was reinstated to his teaching position: with few exceptions, academic freedom as encoded in faculty collective agreements includes the right to criticize the administration.
However, the U of S Faculty Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers hold that academic freedom is universal in the university environment, so Professor Buckingham must be restored as executive director. This position is tricky, as the Faculty Association can’t act legally for Professor Buckingham regarding his non-academic responsibilities. But they will work politically with CAUT, which can be equally effective—and which CAUT would do for any administrator whose academic freedom was threatened, from assistant deans to presidents (should, for instance, a board limit a president’s academic freedom).
Finally, also yesterday, the Faculty Association at Simon Fraser University announced that their members voted overwhelmingly to become a union. So if you have any friends there, be sure to congratulate them.
It looks like there will be some sun this weekend, so enjoy the weather and, as always, thanks for all you do for the quality of education at OCAD University.