CAUT marks 20th anniversary of UNESCO recommendation

The following stories are originally published in the January 2018 edition of the Canadian Association of University Teachers Bulletin.

CAUT marks 20th anniversary of UNESCO recommendation

CAUT Council delegates celebrated the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel at a special event on Nov. 25.

The event featured release of a booklet authored by former CAUT executive director Donald Savage, and Patricia Finn, former executive director of the Carleton University Academic Staff Association, who produced the draft international instrument for the governing body of UNESCO, and a panel discussion with David Edwards, deputy general secretary of Education International, Joanna de Groot, president of the University and College Union in the UK, and Monique Fouilhoux, chair of the global campaign for education. The panelists highlighted the importance of the adoption of the recommendation in November 1997 as the first international statement sanctioned by the United Nations on rights and responsibilities for the academic community and explored the progress that has been made in the years since the recommendation's adoption.

Niagara off the hook, for now

A motion of censure concerning Niagara College's operations took centre stage at CAUT's November Council meeting. Niagara was facing the threat of CAUT censure because of the college's operation of gender-segregated campuses and programs in Saudi Arabia. CAUT raised concerns that the college admnistration was not fully respecting gender equality and academic freedom.

After reviewing the discussions between CAUT representatives and Niagara, Council elected to withdraw the motion of censure. Council also directed CAUT's executive director to maintain a watching brief on the issue to ensure that: women aren't excluded from the courses the Ontario college offers in Saudi Arabia; the college provides legal support for academic staff teaching at the Saudi campuses; and, the college commits to full transparency in its Saudi operations, including making publicly available information on finances, educational programming and governance.

Carleton on probation

At its last meeting of 2017, CAUT Council considered a motion of censure against the administration of Carleton University because the university's board of governors' "code of conduct" suppresses the academic freedom of faculty representatives, and runs contrary to principles of openness and transparency needed for governing a public institution. Ahead of the Council meeting in November, the university administration committed to proposed changes to the code but the revisions have yet to be adopted by the board. After a lengthy debate, Council delegates adopted a motion to censure Carleton by Jan. 31, 2018 if the revisions to the board's code of conduct as presented to CAUT Council on Nov. 25 are not implemented.

Resolution in the Tony Hall case

The case of suspended University of Lethbridge professor Tony Hall has ended with a settlement and reinstatement. Hall was suspended without pay in late 2016 following an investigation by the university into his online activity. His pay was later reinstated.