Canadian Association of University Teachers

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(Ottawa – May 17, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is alarmed by recommendations released this week by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding copyright law in Canada.

The report, though produced by a committee mandated to take into consideration the broad range of stakeholder interests — including creators, the public, educators and students — focuses entirely on the interests of big publishers and their lobby groups.

“The report puts the financial interests of publishers over the rights of students and teachers,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson.

The report makes a number of contentious and alarming recommendations, including rolling back fair dealing rights, extending copyright term, and increasing damages for infringement (even for accidental and minor, non-commercial violation of copyright), while also creating several new rights and payments for publishers.

“Restricting user rights is no way to genuinely support independent Canadian creators, and would have a significant negative impact on scholarly communications and the exchange of knowledge,” Robinson says.

He notes the report demonstrates little understanding of the legal development of fair dealing — the existence and parameters of which have been confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada — and ignores the reality at Canadian schools, universities, and colleges across Canada.

“Students and schools are paying unsustainable and unfair amounts of money to publishers. Fair dealing is a necessary carve-out that allows appropriate sharing for educational purposes, yet this too is under attack,” Robinson says. “The claim that fair dealing has anything to do with publishers’ declining profits or the struggle that some creators face in making a decent living is demonstrably false. The recommendations should be rejected in favour of a more balanced and fair approach to copyright law.”

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

Author: fortier
Posted: May 17, 2019, 3:16 pm

(Ottawa – May 15, 2019) Today marks 100 years since the commencement of the Winnipeg general strike, when most of the city’s workers — about 30,000 private and public sector employees — walked off the job in an organized but unprecedented protest over dismal working conditions, low wages and the lack of a right to a collective voice.

Six weeks later it was over, but not before the federal government had ordered the arrest of eight strike leaders, and riots on June 19, “Bloody Saturday”, resulted in the death of two strikers and injuries for many others when mounted police rode into crowds gathered at Market Square and used clubs and guns to quell the unrest.

“The Canadian Association of University Teachers stands with other unions in Canada to honour the memory of this ground-breaking strike and of the people who fought for rights we often take for granted today,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Today, workers are facing a resurgence of anti-unionism that threatens to erode or eliminate the power of collective action which was so hard-won by those before us — a threat we must stand together to guard against, just as workers did 100 years ago, despite the precarity of their situation.”

The strike was a defining event in the history of Canada’s modern union movement and served to highlight the plight of the working class, and drive growing solidarity. It spawned the birth of the first mandated minimum wage, leading the way for unionization of workers, improvements in employment and social conditions, and ultimately to recognition by the Supreme Court of Canada of the right to strike as essential to a meaningful process of collective bargaining protected by Canada’s Constitution.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 15, 2019, 3:14 pm

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Vic Catano, who passed away on May 10, 2019. As a leading academic staff association activist, he contributed enormously to advancing college and university workplace rights. His loss will be keenly felt; his legacy will continue.

Honoured in 2009 with CAUT’s Donald C. Savage Award, Vic’s work as a chief negotiator on the Saint Mary’s University collective agreement set a standard that associations across the country, big and small, continue to incorporate and build on. Again and again, CAUT has turned to that language for use in its model clauses and bargaining advisories.

As a leader, he dedicated time and energy to serving as President of CAUT, President of Saint Mary's University Faculty Union, and countless other committee positions.

Dr. Catano was a Professor of Psychology at Saint Mary’s University. Over time he also served as a Special Lecturer at the Technical University of Nova Scotia, an Adjunct Professor at Dalhousie University, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Canadian Forces Personnel Applied Research Unit, President of the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia, President of the Canadian Society of Industrial / Organizational Psychology, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations’ Independent Board of Examiners.

Beyond these specific achievements, Vic also leaves a record of personal warmth, compassion, and deep commitment to the cause of workplace justice. Our responsibility to his legacy is to continue his work.

Author: fortier
Posted: May 14, 2019, 7:05 pm

(Ottawa – April 26, 2019) This April 28, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) stands solemnly with unions and employee associations across Canada to mark the National Day of Mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

It is saddening to note that the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers' Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reveal that in 2017, 951 workplace fatalities were recorded in Canada, an increase of 46 from the previous year. 

Especially devastating is the fact that among these deaths were 23 young workers aged 15-24.

It is inexcusable that these types of workplace tragedies are not just continuing year-on-year, but even increasing in numbers. The trauma experienced by the friends, family members and co-workers of killed or injured workers is horrendous.

On this Day of Mourning, CAUT urges provincial and federal governments to closely examine why so few employers are held to account in meaningful ways; to invest in training for police and crown prosecutors to enforce workplace safety; and for provincial labour ministries, police forces and other involved authorities to improve collaboration so that workplace deaths can be minimized, and present and future generations of workers protected.

Author: fortier
Posted: April 26, 2019, 4:00 pm

(Ottawa – 19 March 2019) Today’s budget makes some welcome investments in learners, but does not take the bold steps needed to ensure that all Canadians can access affordable quality post-secondary education opportunities, says the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“We welcome today’s investments to improve access and affordability to post-secondary education, however, we need stronger federal leadership to ensure Canada’s knowledge advantage,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “It is time for a multilateral framework on learning.”

Measures to improve access in Budget 2019 include lowering interest rates on student loans, expansion of the graduate scholarship program, and new funding streams for Inuit and Metis learners and minimal increases for First Nations students.  

Budget 2019’s signature investment in skills training for working adults improves upon existing tax and EI programs for learning, but raise similar questions in terms of their distributional impacts.

The last top-up of federal investment in core funding for colleges and universities was in Budget 2007.

CAUT represents over 72,000 academic staff working in 125 universities and colleges across Canada.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

Author: dufour
Posted: March 19, 2019, 8:42 pm
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(Ottawa – March 15, 2019) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) expresses profound grief and extends deepest condolences to the families and victims of the horrific terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the racist ideology and hatred that motivated the attacks.

We urgently call upon our elected political leaders and officials to take immediate actions  to counter the rise of far-right extremism and hatred, and to speak out without equivocation against all those who support or promote racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.

Author: dufour
Posted: March 15, 2019, 8:20 pm

(Ottawa – March 8, 2019) CAUT Defence Fund flying and driving pickets are in Halifax today in solidarity with members of the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD), marking their first week on strike.

"NSCAD enjoys a significant budgetary surplus, student enrollments are up, and academic staff have taken on additional duties and workload,” said CAUT president James Compton. “Despite these facts, the Board of Governors continues to demand four more years of belt-tightening from our members at the expense of students' learning experience. It's time for the Board to do the right thing and support the core mission of the college."

"From across the country, academic staff stand united with our colleagues at FUNSCAD,” said Defence Fund president Ted Binnema. “Today, colleagues from northern British Columbia to Newfoundland, are honoured to walk the picket line with FUNSCAD members in Halifax. We will continue to support them until they get a fair deal from their employer. The wall of solidarity is strong."

Academic Staff at NSCAD have been working without a contract since June 30, 2018. FUNSCAD, which represents about 95 full and part-time faculty and librarians, started bargaining last September and went through conciliation. In January, members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike vote.

See FUNSCAD’s website for updates and to send letters of protest to the president and board of governors of NSCAD.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (cell)

 

Author: fortier
Posted: March 8, 2019, 12:43 pm

(Ottawa — March 8, 2019) This International Women’s Day, academic staff unite with women across the country and around the world to celebrate achievements of women and the advancements that have been made towards gender equality.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) celebrates the collective gains made over the years, but we also recognize that much more needs to be done and that there are still barriers for women in the academy, particularly Indigenous women and women from equity-seeking groups.

The CAUT report Underrepresented and Underpaid: Diversity and Equity among Canada’s Post-Secondary Education Teachers highlighted some of the remaining obstacles for women academics including the fact that they are still underpaid and overrepresented in lower ranks, and in short-term contract positions.

A national survey of 2,600 contract academic staff (CAS) conducted by CAUT also found that women CAS work more hours per course per week than their male colleagues, and are more likely to be in low-income households. These issues must be addressed so that women can participate fully in the academy.

The next federal election will be in the fall. It is time for all political parties to commit to providing the policy and funding to ensure equity in our colleges and universities.

Author: fortier
Posted: March 7, 2019, 11:30 pm

(Ottawa — March 1, 2019) Members of the Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) set up picket lines this morning after negotiation with their employer reached an impasse.

“We have spent months trying to get the university to bargain productively for a fair and equitable collective agreement,” said FUNSCAD President Mathew Reichertz. “Our requests are reasonable and affordable. We want a fair and more equitable settlement that will bring our working conditions closer to parity with teaching staff and librarians at other Nova Scotian universities.”

Academic Staff at NSCAD have been working without a contract since June 30, 2018. FUNSCAD started bargaining last September and went through conciliation. In January, members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike vote.

“FUNSCAD has the full support of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and its 72,000 strong membership across the country,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “We are hopeful that a quick resolution to the strike is possible if the university administration returns to the bargaining table.”

In 2016, in order to help NSCAD deal with a difficult fiscal environment, FUNSCAD members agreed to roll over the terms of their previous contract, suspend limits on the reduction of numbers of full-time faculty, and accept wage increases well below cost of living. NSCAD is now forecasting a significant budgetary surplus and student enrollments have increased.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and professional staff in 125 colleges and universities, colleges, and institutes across the country.

For more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, Director of Communications, 613-293-1810 or dufour@caut.ca

Author: fortier
Posted: March 1, 2019, 4:14 pm

The Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (FUNSCAD) is seeking your help in their efforts to avert a strike.

Bargaining began last September, but after 18 bargaining sessions and two days of conciliation, the administration has offered little to address the issues of major concern to academic staff. Consequently, FUNSCAD members voted 97.5% in favour of a strike should progress in negotiations cease.

In 2016, in order to help NSCAD deal with a difficult fiscal environment, FUNSCAD members agreed to roll over the terms of their previous contract, suspend limits on the reduction of numbers of full-time faculty, and accept wage increases well below cost of living. Today, NSCAD has posted a significant budgetary surplus, student enrollments are up, and faculty have taken on additional duties and workload. Nevertheless, the Board of Governors is continuing to demand four more years of belt-tightening from FUNSCAD members.

There is still time for the Board to act to avert a strike. You can help by taking action now. Visit their website to send a letter to NSCAD’s President and Board of Governors urging them to negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.

Author: fortier
Posted: February 6, 2019, 4:27 pm

(Ottawa – December 17, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is giving a failing grade to a free speech policy developed by Ontario’s colleges without any consultation with faculty.

“The colleges’ so-called free speech statement is a classic example of what you get when you exclude the experts on the matter – the faculty. You get a simplistic and poorly thought-out policy,” says CAUT’s executive director David Robinson.

Robinson says the statement takes an overly punitive approach to campus demonstrations and protests, failing to recognize that the right to free expression is complemented by the rights of freedom of association and assembly.

“Ironically, the statement may have the effect of actually curtailing free expression on campus,” adds Robinson.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford directed universities and colleges in the province to establish free speech policies by January 2019, and threatened to cut funding for institutions that did not comply with the government’s diktat.

CAUT says the Ford government’s heavy-handed approach is a solution in search of a problem.

“The idea that free speech is being squelched on campuses across the province or across the country is grossly exaggerated and masks a thinly veiled political agenda,” says Robinson. “There’s absolutely no need for these policies, but at the very least colleges and universities should ensure that their statements don’t make matters worse. Including all stakeholders in the process of developing these statements is essential to meeting that goal.”

Robinson says the college statement, developed by 12 administrators and just one student, is symptomatic of a deeper problem in Ontario’s college system – the lack of collegial governance.

“The Ford government unilaterally cancelled a task force established to explore ways that colleges could be better governed to allow faculty a role in academic decision-making. To make the right decisions, and to avoid the problems we see with this free speech statement, you need the right people involved,” Robinson adds.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and professional staff in 125 colleges and universities, colleges, and institutes across the country.

Author: fortier
Posted: December 17, 2018, 3:26 pm

(Ottawa — 6 December 2018) — Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women — is not only about remembering victims but is also a call to action.

On this day in 1989, 14 women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal were murdered in an act of gender-based violence (GBV) that shocked our nation.

CAUT condemns all forms of violence and marks this day as a reminder that women and girls in Canada, and around the world, continue to face levels of violence that are disproportionate and unacceptable.

In Canada, spousal/family violence consistently remains the most common form of violence against women, with 7 in 10 people experiencing such violence being women and girls. Trans people and lesbian and bisexual women and women with disabilities report even higher rates of intimate partner violence.

The stark reality is that every six days in Canada a woman dies at the hands of her intimate partner.

The first federal strategy to prevent and address GBV was introduced in 2017, in an effort to prevent such violence, and also to support survivors and promote better legal responses. CAUT applauds the government’s strategy and the further injection of funds in Budget 2018 which will target additional problems including teen dating violence and cyberbullying.

While some progress is beginning to be measured against the strategy’s goals, it will take much more effort before significant reductions in GBV are realized.

CAUT calls for continued government investment to stamp out GBV, and reminds individuals and organizations to take strong stands against misogyny and sexism which fuel such hate-filled acts. It is only once a true culture of respect is fostered in homes and workplaces that women and girls will no longer have to face such alarming and needless violence.

Author: fortier
Posted: December 6, 2018, 3:00 pm

(Ottawa — 30 November 2018)  Delegates attending the 85th Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council meeting unanimously adopted a motion condemning the Ontario Conservative government for canceling plans for the Université de l’Ontario français without consulting Franco-Ontarians.

In a letter to Premier Doug Ford, CAUT echoes concerns expressed by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations’ (OCUFA) about plans to cancel the promised French-language University without first consulting Francophone students, parents, and the academic community.

“We ask you and your government to hold, with respect to the linguistic rights of minorities, consultations with all the relevant stakeholders, and most importantly, with the Francophone community of Ontario before making a final decision on the future of a French university in Ontario,” writes CAUT executive director David Robinson.

CAUT is the national voice of 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges across the country.

Author: fortier
Posted: November 30, 2018, 2:49 pm

(Ottawa – 28 November 2018) Delegates at the 85th Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council meeting unanimously passed a motion condemning the use of back-to-work legislation by the federal government to end the stand-off between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, CAUT executive director David Robinson states that the legislation violates the right to free collective bargaining.

“The government’s interference in this matter means that many of the serious issues in negotiation will be unresolved.”

“The back-to-work legislation disappoints working people across the country and across the sectors who strive to bargain in good faith to address health and safety, equitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and exercise their democratic rights,” added Robinson.

CAUT is the national voice of 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges across the country.

Author: dufour
Posted: November 28, 2018, 9:24 pm

(Ottawa – November 24, 2018) An investigation into the controversial resignation of Dr. Andrew Potter from the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) has found that not only did the University fail in its duty to protect Professor Potter’s academic freedom, but that its justification for his resignation has undermined the academic freedom of all academic staff at McGill.

The report, prepared for the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), is calling on the University to develop policy to give full protection of academic freedom to academic administrators.

Professor Potter found himself at the centre of controversy in March, 2017 after writing a blog post for Maclean’s Magazine in which he suggested the response to a snow storm in Montreal was reflective of a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society” in Quebec. He later resigned his position as director of the MISC.

“The central academic freedom issue in this case arose from the McGill administration’s claim that academic administrators do not enjoy the same protections as academics without administrative positions,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “It is well understood that universities have as their fundamental commitment the search for knowledge and understanding. This requires an environment free from institutional censorship against any academic.”

The CAUT investigation found no conclusive evidence that the McGill administration put pressure on Professor Potter to resign as Director of MISC, but concluded such pressure would not have been inconsistent with the University’s belief in the conditional academic freedom of academic administrators.

CAUT is the national voice of more than 72,000 academic and general staff at 125 universities and colleges in Canada.

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For more information, please contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, 613-222-3530 or keller@caut.ca

Author: fortier
Posted: November 24, 2018, 4:30 pm

(Ottawa— 31 October, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has established an investigation into the case of Professor Derek Pyne at Thompson Rivers University to determine if his academic freedom was violated.

In April 2017, Professor Pyne published an article exploring the use of so-called “predatory publishers” by faculty members and administrators in the School of Business and Economics at Thompson Rivers. He says he was subsequently targeted by the Administration in violation of his academic freedom.

Professor Pyne has been suspended by the University since July.

Dr. Mark Mac Lean (Mathematics) of the University of British Columbia will chair the investigatory committee. Carla Graebner (Librarian for Data Services and Government Information) of Simon Fraser University will also serve on the committee.

Media contact

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (c); keller@caut.ca

Author: dufour
Posted: October 31, 2018, 3:14 pm

(Ottawa – October 5, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on the federal Liberal government to reassess its approach to the current review of the Copyright Act in light of concessions made in the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Article 20.H.7 of the USMCA trade agreement extends the term of copyright protection in Canada by 20 years, from 50 years after the death of the author of a work to 70 years. The change is the result of pressure from the US entertainment industry.

“The provision means that works that would have been freely available to all to be copied, shared, altered and republished will be locked down for another twenty years,” says CAUT executive director David Robinson. “Term extension will cost the education sector and inhibit authors, artists, students, teachers, researchers, and ordinary Canadians in their pursuit of creativity, free expression and learning opportunities.”

Long identified as a giveaway to large corporations at the expense of the public interest, term extension had been resisted by successive Canadian governments. Even the most vocal Canadian proponents for more restrictive copyright law have been reluctant to advocate for it.

“With term extension now imposed as a by-product of an international trade deal, the careful balance in Canadian copyright law has been upended in favour of corporate content owners,” states Robinson. “To correct this, the current review of the Copyright Act should advance expanded user rights within the legislation – including broader fair dealing provisions, stronger educational exceptions, better access to orphan works, and reformed Crown Copyright. The United States has forcefully imposed the interests of its corporations on the Canadian public. Canada must push back.”

Author: fortier
Posted: October 5, 2018, 4:27 pm

(Ottawa – September 4, 2018) Most academic staff working on contract at Canadian universities and colleges aren’t employed that way by choice indicates new survey results gathered and released today by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

According to the survey:

  • Over half (53%) of respondents want a tenure-track university or full-time, permanent college job. This is the case even for contract academic staff (CAS) who have been teaching for 16-20 years.
  • Only 25% said they do not want a tenure-track or permanent, full-time academic appointment. The remainder are unsure.
  • Women and racialized CAS work more hours per course, per week than their colleagues and are more likely to be in low-income households.
  • Two-thirds of respondents said their mental health has been negatively impacted by the contingent nature of their employment, and just 19% think the institutions where they work are model employers and supporters of good jobs.

“Until now, we had no clear picture of the working conditions of CAS across the country,” said CAUT executive director David Robinson. “These results reveal that many CAS are underpaid, overworked and sorely under-resourced. It’s a dismal picture for the majority of these academics, who often feel trapped in a ‘gig lifestyle’ of part-time or insecure work.”

CAS are a swiftly growing segment in the Canadian academic workforce, with the number of university teachers working part-time, part-year expanding by 79% from 2005 to 2015.  In contrast, regular professors increased by only 14% and in the same period, the number of students grew by 28%.

“Administrators are increasingly — and wrongly — replacing what should be full-time permanent jobs with a patchwork of lower-paid, short-term contracts,” said Robinson. “The growing reliance by administrators on CAS is unfair to CAS and to their students.”

More than 2,600 CAS responded to the online survey, which was open to those teaching at least one course during the 2016-17 academic year in any Canadian post-secondary institution.

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Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (c); keller@caut.ca

Author: fortier
Posted: September 4, 2018, 2:11 pm

(Ottawa – August 31, 2018) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) marks Labour Day 2018 by recognizing the many achievements of the trade union movement, and committing to continuing the fight for improved standards of living for all workers.

CAUT, along with other unions and employee associations, has been instrumental in promoting equity at Canada’s universities and colleges, and remains a vocal advocate for academic freedom and professional rights won through collective representation.

But serious challenges remain, including the growing corporatization of institutions of higher learning,  and an increasing reliance on contract hiring.  

CAUT will continue to push back against these trends and will work to promote the integrity of our universities and colleges, and advance the rights and security of workers on campus.

This Labour Day, we recognize the need for continued solidarity across the labour movement, as we stand against the casualization of academic work, and for the advancement of health and safety standards in all workplaces, and of a fair and equitable society.

Media contact:

Lisa Keller, Communications Officer, Canadian Association of University Teachers; 613-726-5186 (o); 613-222-3530 (c)

Author: dufour
Posted: August 31, 2018, 4:43 pm

(Ottawa – August 31, 2018) The government of Ontario’s plan to require the province’s universities and colleges to adopt “free speech” policies and punish those who fail to adhere to the new requirements is an unprecedented interference with institutional autonomy, warns the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).

“CAUT has long advocated that campuses must be sites where there is a free and open exchange of ideas,” says executive director David Robinson. “But universities and colleges should set their own policies, not politicians. Institutional autonomy – including the freedom from government diktat – is itself necessary to protect free expression and academic freedom.”

Robinson adds that the government’s requirements are “a solution in search of a problem”.

“The belief that free expression is being squelched on campuses across the province and across the country is grossly exaggerated and masks a thinly veiled political agenda,” says Robinson.  “The difficult conversations about free speech on campus today are about reconciling unhindered debate with the need to ensure that all voices can be heard without facing discrimination and harassment. This can be a very difficult terrain to navigate, but punitive measures such as those proposed by the Ford government will create a more litigious and polarizing environment, making it more difficult to find solutions.”

The vagueness in the government’s guidelines of what constitutes an interference with free speech is also a problem, and may prohibit legitimate protests.

“Ironically, the requirements may have the effect of actually curtailing free expression on campus,” Robinson suggests.

“The real problems around free speech and academic freedom on campus today are linked to issues such as government de-funding, and the increasing precariousness of academic work,” says Robinson.
“The Ford government could better serve the people by focusing on these real problems, and not chasing after distractions.”

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For  more information, please contact:

Valérie Dufour, Director of Communications, 613-293-1810 or dufour@caut.ca

Author: dufour
Posted: August 31, 2018, 4:21 pm