On April 23, 2021, Delegates to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council voted to censure the University of Toronto because of the Administration’s failure to resolve concerns regarding academic freedom stemming from a hiring scandal in the Faculty of Law.
“When reviewing all the evidence, CAUT Council delegates concluded that the decision to cancel Dr. Valentina Azarova’s hiring was politically motivated, and as such constitutes a serious breach of widely recognized principles of academic freedom,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. The
CAUT’s censure vote came one day after a group of Muslim, Arab, and Jewish organizations wrote an open letter to the University of Toronto demanding the reinstatement of the job offer to Dr. Azarova. The letter noted that the treatment of Dr. Azarova “caused harm to members of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish communities,” for it had “communicated that public advocacy for Palestinian human rights is not tolerated at the University of Toronto.” The letter was signed by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the Canadian Arab Institute (CAI), Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), and the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA).
Censure is a serious sanction and a last resort. It means CAUT’s 72,000 members, including OCADFA members, are asked not to accept appointments or speaking engagements or to participate in academic conferences at that institution, nor to accept any distinction or honour that it may offer. The censure against the University of Toronto will remain until the institution until satisfactory changes are made.
Censure has been rarely imposed, last used for governance violations at First Nations University in 2008. Read CAUT’s detailed procedures relating to censure here.
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