CAUT Calls for Pause on U. of Toronto Censure

Hank Reichman

The following is the text of a statement issued today, September 17, by the Council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).  For background on this case see this previous post and CAUT’s statement imposing censure.

On April 22, the Council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) took the unusual measure of censuring the Administration of the University of Toronto over a hiring scandal in the Faculty of Law.  Upon reviewing the matter extensively, Council delegates concluded that the decision not to proceed with the hiring of Dr. Valentina Azarova as Director of the International Human Rights Program, following an intervention by a prominent donor and sitting judge, violated widely recognized principles of academic freedom.  Unless universities and colleges are actively protected from outside interference and intrusion, their integrity and mission are imperiled.

In discussions and correspondence with the University Administration, CAUT has conveyed that the principal condition for the lifting of censure would be for the University to re-offer the position to Dr. Azarova.  It is our understanding that this key condition has now been met.

The University presented Dr. Azarova with an offer of employment.  After careful consideration, however, Dr. Azarova has declined the offer.  Her decision, while unfortunate, is understandable given the University’s initial reaction to the unfounded and scurrilous attacks on her reputation and her research.

Considering this development, the CAUT Executive Committee is advising that the censure of the Administration of the University of Toronto be suspended pending a final decision by CAUT Council at its meeting of November 25 and 26. Until then, the Executive Committee is calling for a pause in all actions related to censure.