Carleton Board’s new ‘Code of Conduct’ stifles debate and fails to address faculty concerns

(Ottawa, ON – February 1, 2016) The Carleton University Academic Staff Association continues to be concerned about the lack of transparency and openness from the Carleton University Board of Governors, after the new Code of Conduct was rushed for approval on January 26, 2016. The new Code of Conduct now automatically applies to every governor on the board, and replaces the recently amended Statement of General Duties, Fiduciary Responsibilities and Conflict of Interest.

The Code stifles dissent from members of the Board and grants increased powers to the Chair and the Executive Committee to discipline members for violations. Of even more concern is how quickly open debate was avoided on the question of how the Chair and the Executive Committee may be held to account under this new Code of Conduct.

CUASA is calling on the Board to demonstrate that it understands that academic freedom applies to all activities that a faculty member engages in (not just teaching and research) and that it intends to apply this new Code of Conduct equally to all members of the Board.

The Board must institute a Code of Conduct that respects the right of faculty members to dissent and be free from institutional censorship, not give itself more powers to censure members. The Board must restrict its use of closed meetings to a small range of clearly defined topics that are appropriately confidential, and commit to conducting all other business in open sessions.

“CUASA is committed to keeping the Board accountable to the university community,” said Pum van Veldhoven, CUASA’s President. “We will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to defend academic freedom. The new disciplinary powers of censuring  a Governor and ordering resignations are as inappropriate as threatening an elected Governor’s removal. The Board missed the point and evidently still plans on continuing its attack on academic freedom instead of having an open discussion about it.”

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For more information please contact Caitlin Armstrong, CUASA Member Services Officer at 613-520-2600 x 8381

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