Carleton University Under Investigation for Limiting Academic Freedom
(Ottawa – November 30, 2015) – The Canadian Association of University Teachers has given the green light to investigate Carleton University for lack of transparency and respect for the principles of collegial governance and academic freedom.
“Universities are public institutions and shouldn’t be run like private corporations. Faculty members are elected to the Board of Governors to ensure that the University community has a voice in governance. It is simply unacceptable and antidemocratic to impose a gag order on its members” said Carleton University Academic Staff Association President Pum van Veldhoven.
On Saturday November 28th the delegates at the 79th CAUT Council meeting unanimously passed a motion condemning Carleton University for its disregard for democratic and transparent functioning of the University, and referred the matter to their Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee.
This motion was motivated by the decision of Carleton University to have the members of the Carleton University Board of Governors sign a newly revised Statement of General Duties, Fiduciary Responsibilities, and Conflict of Interest. The revised statement imposed additional restrictions on a member’s ability to speak publicly about board meetings.
In order to encourage transparency and good governance, CUASA member Dr. Root Gorelick, who is one of 2 elected faculty representatives on the Carleton University Board of Governors, has blogged regularly about open meetings of the Board since 2013. Under the revised statement, Dr. Gorelick is prohibited from continuing to blog about anything discussed by the Board of Governors. As a result, he has refused to sign the revised statement and is facing the threat of removal from the Board of Governors.
Currently Board of Governors meetings are not open to the Carleton University community, unless community members are given advance permission to attend. Anyone wishing to observe an open Board of Governors meeting is forced to watch the proceedings from a live streamed video broadcast on the other side of the campus.
“Academic staff across the country are appalled by these muzzling tactics by Carleton that fly in the face of openness, transparency, and good governance” said van Veldhoven.
For more information please contact Caitlin Armstrong, CUASA Membership Services Officer at 613-520-2600 x 8381 or Angela Regnier, CAUT Communications Officer at 613-726-5186