Saskatchewan

University of Regina withdraws controversial tenure proposals from bargaining table

The University of Regina has withdrawn controversial tenure proposals from the bargaining table and it says its intention never was to limit academic freedom or weaken tenure.

University says it values tenure as essential to academic freedom

The University of Regina says its proposals were never a threat to academic freedom or the integrity of tenure. (CBC)

The University of Regina has withdrawn controversial tenure proposals from the bargaining table and it says its intention was never to limit academic freedom or weaken tenure. 

On Friday, CBC reported the university was proposing measures that would allow a professor's tenure to be revoked after three consecutive negative performance reviews. It also was proposing an extra layer of scrutiny for academics being considered for tenure. 

A university of Regina professor and the Canadian Association of University teachers said those proposals, if implemented, would put academic freedom at risk. 

In a statement released Monday morning, the university says that was never its intention. 

"The University has guarded, and will continue to guard, the academic freedom of faculty. It values tenure as an essential concomitant of academic freedom, and of a vibrant university," said a written statement from Thomas Chase, Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at the U of R. 

The statement said that during the ongoing collective bargaining process, the university was attempting to develop a "more formative, collaborative and constructive performance review process focused on career planning." 

"The University presented draft language as a starting point, indicating that those drafts sought to engage [the University of Regina Faculty Association] in an interest-based approach that would generate keen discussion at the bargaining table," said Chase. 

Chase said URFA didn't want to have that discussion so the drafts were removed from the bargaining table prior to CBC's Friday report. The university declined to comment on the matter when contacted on Friday other than to say it "is committed to a collegial process and bargaining in good faith."

In his email to CBC, Chase reiterated that these discussions should be happening at the bargaining table and not in public.

"Respecting the protocol we signed with the Faculty Association, in bargaining a new collective agreement the University has no plans to engage media in matters under discussion at the bargaining table."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Geoff Leo

Senior Investigative Journalist

Geoff Leo has been a reporter for CBC News in Saskatchewan since 2001. His work as an investigative journalist and documentary producer has earned numerous national and regional awards.

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