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Academic freedom, research security risks, and CSIS on campus

June 14th, 2023


LONDON, June 14th, 2023 – On Friday June 9th, UWOFA held a meeting of members and invited guests, to discuss academic freedom in the context of threats to research security and recent changes to government policies which place limits on both what research can be done and with whom. These policies have had a chilling effect on the capacity of many of our academic colleagues (both at Western and across the country) to do their work.

UWOFA is very concerned about these serious issues. Our goals with this session were to ensure members were well-informed, by including speakers representing a variety of vantage points, and to remind everyone that academic freedom is a lynchpin of scholarship which we all must defend.  

Currently, UWOFA has received minimal guidance from our Employer regarding what constitutes a research threat, how Members should respond if they are contacted by a CSIS agent, and how any information collected will be treated (where it will be stored and for how long, who has access to it).

UWOFA is calling for our Employer to commit to the Pearson-Laskin Accord particularly the following principles: Members need to be advised of their rights should they ever encounter CSIS agents, and Western Administration needs to be transparent in communicating with UWOFA regarding CSIS interventions, including letting us know when and how any collaboration between our Employer and government security agencies is taking place.

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