Uh, oh. Academic freedom in the spotlight in Canada

Inside Higher Ed reports that writing something critical about Quebec while being the head of a Canadian studies institute apparently is frowned upon. Academic freedom be damned!

The Canadian news magazine Maclean’s, which published Potter’s offending column, cited unnamed sources saying that “McGill endured such intense backlash over Potter’s Maclean’s piece that the university left him only two choices: resign or be fired.”

“If it is true that the McGill administration bowed to external pressure and forced Professor Potter to step down, then this would be one of the most serious violations of academic freedom in recent years,” David Robinson, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said in a statement. “Universities have an absolute obligation to protect and defend the academic freedom of their faculty from outside influences.”

In a public message, McGill’s principal and vice chancellor (the equivalent of president), Suzanne Fortier, said the board of the institute accepted Potter’s resignation “regretfully.” She wrote that Potter’s “resignation provoked unfounded rumors and concerns regarding academic freedom,” which she described as a “foundational principle” for the university.

This entry was posted in academic freedom, Canada, colleges and universities, faculty, higher education, McGill University. Bookmark the permalink.

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