Thursday, May 20th, 4pm
Censuring the Neo Liberal University:
Academic Freedom, Donors and Equity:
A Panel on the Censure of The University of Toronto
Anver Emon, Professor of Law and History, University of Toronto
Melanie J. Newton, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Toronto
Denise G. Réaume, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
Dave Robinson, CAUT Executive Director
Hosted by Min Sook Lee and Beverley Bain.
This panel will be Close Captioned.
In August 2020, Dr. Valentina Azarova was in negotiations with the University of Toronto to become the Director of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the Faculty of Law. On September 4, the Dean of Law was advised that a prominent alumnus and funder objected to the hire based on Dr. Azarova’s scholarship that was deemed critical of Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. On September 6, the Dean rescinded the offer of employment to Dr Azarova.
On April 23, 2021 delegates to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Council voted to censure the University of Toronto. According to a report from CAUT on the matter the members declared that, “The facts that have emerged strongly suggest the decision to cancel Dr. Azarova’s appointment was politically motivated, and as such would constitute a serious breach of widely recognized principles of academic freedom”.
Censure is a serious sanction and a last resort. It means CAUT’s 72,000 members, are asked not to accept appointments or speaking engagements or to participate in academic conferences at that institution, nor to accept any distinction or honour that it may offer, until a satisfactory decision has been achieved.
For more information on this: https://censureuoft.ca/home/
CAUT’s censure vote came one day after a group of Muslim, Arab, and Jewish organizations wrote an open letter to the University of Toronto demanding the reinstatement of the job offer to Dr. Azarova. The letter noted that the treatment of Dr. Azarova “caused harm to members of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish communities,” for it had “communicated that public advocacy for Palestinian human rights is not tolerated at the University of Toronto.” The letter was signed by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), the Canadian Arab Institute (CAI), Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), and the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association (ACLA).