2 Canadian Universities Faulted on Academic Freedom

November 1, 2010

An investigation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers has found that Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo allowed the first director of a new academic center they jointly sponsored to be ousted unfairly and in violation of principles of academic freedom. The center, the Balsillie School of International Affairs, was jointly created by the universities and the Center for International Governance Innovation, a think tank created by Jim Balsillie, the Blackberry creator and the major financial backer of the academic venture. The CAUT found that Ramesh Thakur was forced out of the directorship of the new international affairs school for objecting to the pressure being placed on it by the corporate think tank CIGI. The two universities were faulted in the report for "a serious lapse of judgment and loss of commitment to institutional autonomy, academic integrity, due process, and natural justice." The two universities issued a statement to The Globe and Mail in which they said that they objected "strenuously" to the faculty group's findings.

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