Academic Freedom includes the right to criticize the University

Many of you will already know that the employment of Dr. Robert Buckingham, Executive Director of the School of Public Health, was terminated this morning. His termination letter, which can be found on the CBC News Saskatoon website, states that he irreparably damaged his relationship with the U of S and breached his employment contract, in part, by broadly distributing a document entitled “The Silence of the Deans” that openly criticizes Senior Administrators and TransformUS.

While Dr. Buckingham is not, and never has been, in-scope of the USFA, the USFA Executive Committee views the steps taken by Senior Administration as contrary to the CAUT Policy on Academic Freedom for Academic Administrators and an attack on the principle of academic freedom.

University of Saskatchewan faculty who are in-scope of the USFA, through Article 6 of our Collective Agreement, have a right to Academic Freedom. This article states that all USFA members, “whether tenured or not and regardless of prescribed doctrine, are entitled to the exercise of their rights as citizens and to freedom in carrying out research and in publishing its results, freedom of discussion, freedom to teach the subject assigned in classes, freedom to criticize the University and the Association without suffering censorship or discipline.” [emphasis added]

The USFA Executive is committed to upholding the rights of members to exercise their academic freedom, including their right to participate fully in collegial decision-making and to criticize the University.