Protest rallies, emergency meetings, possible legal action, and calls for a presidential resignation have all made for a turbulent week at the University of Saskatchewan.

Students and faculty have been voicing their concerns on a number of issues, including a lack of transparency, academic freedom, government funding, and the university administration's approach to cost-cutting plans.

'It's very important that the university be seen to be open and fair' - Ken Coates, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Ken Coates, professor at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, said the main issue coming out of this is one of free speech.

"Conversations about the future take on greater urgency as the financial challenges hit and lots of debate about how we actually use our resources," Coates said. "It's very important that the university be seen to be open and fair, without consequence for speaking out."

Coates said it's important for the public to know what school leaders think and that they aren't censored.


Public policy professor Ken Coates. (University of Saskatchewan)

"I think it's wrong to assume senior administrators of their individual units should really only advocate inside closed doors with other senior administrators," he said.

Coates hopes more of the discussion will be brought out into the open.

On Monday, Brett Fairbairn resigned from as the university's provost and vice president shortly before the U of S board of governors held an closed-door emergency meeting.

The board of governors have another emergency meeting called for next week.

The university's faculty association executive aren't happy about Monday night's board of governors meeting.

One item not discussed Monday night was the demand by the association to rescind a board decision giving the university president a "veto" on tenure decisions.

Doug Chivers, chair of the faculty association, said if the faculty association doesn't get a response from the board of governors, legal action may be pursued.

On Tuesday, U of S president Ilene Busch-Vishniac told CBC News she has no plans to resign.