In a rare move, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council voted last month to censure the University of Toronto over a decision by the Dean of the Faculty of Law to terminate the hiring of a preferred candidate for the directorship of its International Human Rights Program. Until “satisfactory changes” are made, the censure means asking CAUT members:
- not to accept appointments at a censured institution;
- not to accept invitations to speak or participate in academic conferences there;
- not to accept any distinction or honour that may be offered by that institution.
CAUT’s council found that U of T’s decision to withdraw its verbal job offer to Valentina Azarova last September was “politically motivated, and as such constitutes a serious breach of widely recognized principles of academic freedom,” David Robinson, CAUT’s executive director, said in a statement.
The University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) abstained from voting on the CAUT motion to avoid any prejudice either to the outcome of the vote at CAUT or to the U of T grievance process currently underway concerning the Azarova case, in which UTFA is involved.
In a public response to CAUT’s call for censure, U of T President Meric Gertler wrote to colleagues, “I am extremely disappointed by CAUT’s decision. As I stated to you – and to the leadership of CAUT when we met last week – the university had responded to the controversy by appointing the Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell, CC, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and an individual of unimpeachable integrity, to undertake an impartial, independent review.”
If you are looking for more background on the censure and how it impacts the Faculty of Information and its partners, please contact Ann Brocklehurst, Senior Communications Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 978-7184.
- Independent Review of the Search Process by Thomas Cromwell
- U of T President’s response to Independent Review
- CAUT Censure Statement
- U of T President’s response to CAUT Censure
- UTFA Statement on CAUT Censure
- U of T resource page including FAQs
- Professor Joseph H. Carens’ executive summary from UltaVires.ca
- Letter to U of T President from 10 U of T Law Professors
- New Yorker article by Masha Gessen
- Professor Anver Emon’s analysis from UltraVires.ca
- Professor Denise Réaume’s analysis from UltraVires.ca
- Lawyer and PhD student Vincent Wong’s analysis from OpinioJuris.org