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the association to ensure fair and equitable
remuneration, monetary compensation was not
the primary reason for its existence. The back-
bone is that the faculty as a whole has always
staunchly believed that you cannot have a free
and effective university system that does not
have academic freedom. The ability to conduct
real research is merely ideology and doctrine
without academic freedom and it’s that inherent
belief which remains the CAUT’s guiding prin-
ciple to this day.
“Remember 1951 – McCarthy – Red Scare.
You had professors like Bertrand Russell in the
U.S. being fired for not conforming to Christian
standards. There was still have a lot of religious
orthodoxy being imposed even in mainstream
universities,” Vose reveals.
The termination of professors who were
critical of their school’s presidents or spoke out
with different opinions about religion or politics
is what ultimately incentivized a movement. Vose
says that academic freedom is by far one of the
top pillars of decent working conditions, without
which it becomes virtually impossible to properly
do one’s job as an educator.
The CAUT takes on a number of cases of
academic freedom violations every year, where
professors have been either disciplined or termi-
nated for their speech or research, angering the
wrong people. Through advocacy and threats of
censure, the association has successfully man-
aged to resolve, positively, almost 100% of the
cases where they’ve defended academic freedom.
“I’m very proud of our record on academic
freedom,” Vose says, with due reason.
Any association of academic staff who work in
a university, and who meet the criteria of being
democratic and independent, will be permitted
to join as members. In practice, the CAUT has
most of the faculty associations in Anglophone
Canada. In addition to professors, the associa-
tion also represents librarians, clinicians and
CAUT President Robin Vose
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