Saskatchewan Provost Resigns Over Dean's Controversial Firing

May 20, 2014

The surging controversy over the University of Saskatchewan's firing of a dean who challenged administration policies claimed another person's job late Monday, as the institution's provost resigned hours before an emergency meeting called by the province's education minister, The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported. Brett Fairbairn, provost and vice president academic at Saskatchewan, said he was departing because of his "genuine interest in the well-being" of the university.

Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris, who called the emergency meeting, expressed the government’s "growing concern regarding the state" of the university, In a statement after the meeting, the chair of the university's Board of Governors, Susan Milburn, said that the board had "discussed the leadership of the university in depth. We do not want to act in haste and therefore we have not made any final decisions, other than to maintain our strong commitment to financial sustainability and renewal. We will conclude our due diligence before a decision is rendered on university leadership."

Robert Buckingham ignited the firestorm at Saskatchewan when he released a document recounting how Ilene Busch-Vishniac had warned him and fellow administrators in December that any public disagreement with the university's strategic plan would result in their firing. He was dismissed from both his deanship and his faculty position when he challenged aspects of the plan. Although he was later reinstated to his faculty post, the university has been harshly criticized for its actions.

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