A group that represents university instructors is calling on Calgary's Alberta College of Art and Design to re-hire an instructor who lost his job after a student slaughtered a chicken in the school cafeteria. 

Gordon Ferguson, who was the head of ACAD's sculpture department, was fired after a student killed the chicken as a performance piece last month.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers announced Monday it has retained legal counsel to represent Ferguson and ACAD's faculty association, which also supports him.

"We find it unacceptable that an art college would fire a professor because one of his student's projects, while legal, was controversial," said executive director James Turk in a news release. "Universities and colleges should be places where free expression and creative exploration is encouraged."

The association says it has filed a grievance, demanding Ferguson's reinstatement and compensation for lost wages and benefits — and that ACAD formally apologizes.