The Canadian Association of University Teachers has told three Ontario universities—York, Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier—that it intends to pursue a rare censure motion against them over their collaborations with a think tank founded by the BlackBerry mogul Jim Balsillie, reports the National Post. The faculty union says that the agreements appear to allow Mr. Balsillie’s Waterloo-based Centre for International Governance Innovation veto power over the hiring of faculty members and the ability to influence curriculum and research. The universities say that the motion, which will be taken up at the union’s general meeting next month, is unfair and that they have taken steps to ensure academic freedom. York, for example, approved a $60-million deal involving the think tank last month after establishing several measures to appease faculty critics.
If approved, a censure would essentially blacklist the universities, discouraging academics from accepting jobs or doing research with them. It was last invoked in 2008 over governance issues at the First Nations University of Canada. That censure was lifted 17 months later.Return to Top