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CAUT Motion to Censure and CAUT Equity Committee

CAUT Motion to Censure the University of Toronto

Dear members,

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has asked us to inform you of its Council’s April 22, 2021 unanimous decision[1] to censure the University of Toronto in relation to a hiring controversy in its Faculty of Law, and the implications of this matter for academic freedom. Since 1979, there have only been three instances in which CAUT has had to apply this measure in response to a university acting “in a manner that threatens academic freedom and tenure, undermines collegial governance, disregards negotiated agreements, refuses to bargain in good faith, or takes other actions that are contrary to interests of academic staff or compromise the quality and integrity of post-secondary education.”[2]

The current controversy revolves around a “politically motivated” decision to cancel the hiring of Dr. Valentina Azarova. Dr. Azarova, who was the top choice of the hiring committee for the still-vacant Director of International Human Rights Program at the University’s Faculty of Law, received an offer to take-up this position that subsequently was rescinded after concerns were raised by a sitting judge about Dr. Azarova’s academic work on human rights in Israel and Palestine.” For a more detailed summary of the situation, we invite you to consult CAUT’s statement about this matter.

Until the situation is satisfactorily resolved, and in line with its procedures related to censure, CAUT asks APUO members not to accept:

  • appointments at the University of Toronto;
  • invitations to speak or participate in academic conferences held or hosted by the University of Toronto; and
  • any distinction or honour that may be offered by the University of Toronto.

Since the adoption of CAUT’s motion of censure, several University of Toronto events with invited guest-speakers have been postponed or cancelled

Election of Susan Spronk to CAUT Equity

The APUO wishes to congratulate Susan Spronk for her election as co-chair of the CAUT Equity Committee for a two-year term. Susan, who is currently the APUO’s past president, will also begin her term as APUO president on July 1. 

[1] The University of Toronto Faculty Association abstained from the vote because of ongoing proceedings with the University of Toronto Central Administration on this matter.