Hundreds sign letter to interim U of S president

The group "DefendUS" has penned a letter to the interim University of Saskatchewan president Gordon Barnhart, asking for a number of changes under his leadership.

The letter asks the interim president to reject the TransformUS report

Gordon Barnhart was appointed interim president of the University of Saskatchewan. (CBC)

More than 800 people have now signed a letter addressed to new University of Saskatchewan president Gordon Barnhart asking for the end of TransformUS.

The letter was written by the group DefendUS, who have been protesting the school’s cost-cutting plan. It was emailed to Barnhart, the chancellor and board of governors early this morning.

The letter asks for changes under the interim president’s leadership including the TransformUS report to be rejected, more open and transparent university budgets and meaningful consultation with all stakeholders. 

"This entire process is flawed and cannot be relied upon because of the lack of consultation with key stakeholders, notably students, but also staff, faculty and alumni," DefendUS spokesperson Daniel LeBlanc said.

DefendUS wants a response by June 6 and a full public meeting to follow soon after that. 

Among those who signed the letter was native studies professor Robert Innes, who also studied at the university.

“There’s a lot of trust at this point, blind trust and cautious trust placed on the new president,” he said.

The U of S made headlines over the last week when Robert Buckingham spoke out against TransformUS, leading him to be fired as the dean of public health and his tenure ended.

In the following days Buckingham was offered his teaching role back and university president Ilene Busch-Vishniac was fired.