On April 22, the council of the Canadian Association of University Teachers voted unanimously to censure the University of Toronto, because of the University’s “failure to resolve concerns regarding academic freedom stemming from a hiring scandal in the Faculty of Law”. At issue is the role that donors and other vested interests have in internal decision-making at the University, the lack of collegial governance, and the ability of the University to protect faculty and staff who advocate on behalf of the powerless. Details of the CAUT censure can be found at https://www.caut.ca/content/censure-against-university-toronto
The School of the Environment supports the CAUT censure, and calls on the University administration to take immediate steps to resolve the situation. While the censure continues, the School will not host nor advertise any events that include academic speakers from outside U of T. Instead, we will use our events to give voice to speakers from within the University whose work challenges existing power structures. We will, however, continue to offer speaking opportunities to external speakers not currently in full-time employment, including students, postdocs, and environmental activists.
While the censure asks academics not to accept appointments at U of T, we believe this should be interpreted through an equity lens, as the censure should not halt the University’s efforts to hire more BIPOC scholars, nor frustrate those seeking an escape from precarious employment via their first academic position. Accordingly we will proceed with our current search for an assistant professor (CLTA) to teach in our new Sustainability Certificate program, and we will apply a similar lens to decide how to proceed with future academic hires.