SASKATOON: Employees of the University of Saskatchewan are speaking-out against the restrictions they face on their speech, activities and associations, as the world marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The universal human rights declaration proclaims “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression without interference,” but it doesn’t appear to be true at the U of S, where the administration continues to reprimand its critics.
The climate at the U of S is becoming increasingly inhospitable to trade unions says Len Findlay, a concerned academic. “Scaremongering and anti-union animus are alive and well in high places.”
The employer recently filed an unfair labour practice charge against CUPE 1975 president Glenn Ross for comments he made in the November issue of the union newsletter, Skopein, about the poor state of labour relations on campus.
CUPE 1975 President Glenn Ross dismisses the unfair labour practice charge as “groundless,” but says it appears to be part of the university’s efforts to stifle dissent on campus.
The universal human rights declaration also states everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. However, the faculty representative on the U of S Board of Governors was censured for walking the CUPE 1975 picket line last year.
Findlay says, the faculty representative is being “treated like a Harper cabinet minister instead of someone who retains the trust and respect of her colleagues and the right to exercise her own academic freedom.”
A group of faculty is referring the matter to the Canadian Association of University Teachers. “Universities are institutions that traditionally function like canaries in the mineshaft of democracy,” says Findlay, who has taught at the university for more than 30 years. “The employer’s actions are a serious sign of the times.”
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For more information contact:
Glenn Ross at 221-8177 and Len Findlay at 934-1040 or 966-2573.
For background documents click on the links below.