Premier Brad Wall, Rob Norris call Ilene Busch-Vishniac lawsuit 'scandalous'

Premier Brad Wall and former Minister of Advanced Education Rob Norris are calling the lawsuit filed against them by former University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac "scandalous, frivolous, and vexatious."

Statements of defence filed this week

(left to right) Former University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac, Premier Brad Wall and former Minister of Advanced Education Rob Norris. (CBC, Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

"Scandalous, frivolous, and vexatious."

That is how Premier Brad Wall and former Minister of Advanced Education, Rob Norris, characterize a lawsuit filed against them by former University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac. 

In June, Busch-Vishniac filed a lawsuit over her dismissal, claiming more than $8.5 million in damages. She named the politicians and members of the school's board, at the time, in her suit.

Wall, Norris, the U of S and the board members filed statements of defence this week. 

Ilene Busch-Vishniac filed a lawsuit in June over her dismissal as president of the University of Saskatchewan. (CBC)
Busch-Vishniac's contract was terminated without cause, amid a public firestorm over a cost-cutting plan called TransformUS. Controversy erupted after Professor Robert Buckingham, who wrote a provocative commentary entitled Silence of the Deans, was fired and stripped of his tenure.

In her statement of claim, Busch-Vischniac alleges that Wall and Norris unlawfully interfered in the university's business by influencing the board's decision to fire her as president. 

Wall and Norris' statement of defence says that at no time did they "... authorize, direct, demand, or order that the Board terminate the Plaintiff. The decision to terminate the Plaintiff's appointment as President was an independent decision arrived at and made independently by the Board." 

Busch-Vischniac's departure

After being terminated as president, Busch-Vischniac was moved to a faculty position, which she described as a "significant demotion". In July, she resigned from her position as a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

She also alleges the university acted "capriciously and arbitrarily" in terminating her contract, and violated its own by-laws.

The allegations in her statement of claim have not been proven in court.

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