Laurentian University faculty alleges academic freedom violations
University's Faculty of Arts under investigation for 10 alleged violations of academic freedom
Laurentian University is under an external investigation for alleged violations to academic freedom at its Faculty of Arts.
The allegations were brought by the school's faculty association to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), an association that represents academic staff and investigates violations of academic freedom.
The investigation details 10 allegations against the faculty, which include:
- Improper procedural practices and restrictions on academic freedom.
- Disregard of collegial decision-making.
- Irregular hiring procedures.
- Inappropriate interference in workload assignments.
- Restrictions on faculty access to the departmental office.
- Failure to maintain appropriate faculty complement.
- Failure to provide particulars in disciplinary investigations.
- Breach of privacy.
- Improper changes to grades.
- Interference in teaching methods and styles.
- The investigation has been going on since last semester.
CAUT said it will also investigate other issues that may arise during the investigation. Read the details of the investigation on CAUT's website here.
The university said not all of the allegations constitute violations to academic freedom, and many of them have already been resolved.
The university's president Dominic Giroux said he doesn't recognize the investigation. He said the faculty association is welcome to follow the internal grievance process if there are further problems.
"We have a clause in the collective agreement about academic freedom,” he said, “And if the union feels that we're not in compliance with that clause, it can absolutely follow the grievance process, which has not been the case so far."
That’s a familiar response, said CAUT's president Robin Vose. He said the investigation could have serious consequences if the allegations are proven.
"It would be a process by which we would formally condemn the situation at the university and advise people to avoid that university," he said.
“We think that it's in the public interest, the interest of the students, the interest of the workers, professors at the university, the interest of everybody really to find out as best we can what's going on and how it can be resolved.”
No one from the university's faculty or student association was available to speak about the details of the allegations.
CAUT will release its report within the coming months.