The Storm Over Academic Freedom, Collegial Governance and International Human Rights at UofT’s Faculty of Law
SPEAKERS: ANVER EMON, University of Toronto and DAVID SCHNEIDERMAN, University of Toronto
In Fall 2020, the Dean at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law scuttled the appointment of a preferred candidate to head up the law school’s International Human Rights Programme. All of the evidence pointed in the direction of the Dean being
prompted to act only after a donor complained to the University about the prospect of hiring, as director of the programme, a scholar who had criticized the State of Israel’s conduct in Palestine as not being compliant with international law. A small number of faculty at the law school, including the speakers at this event called for an inquiry into the Dean’s actions and closer scrutiny of the rationales being offered by the Dean and the University administration. This talk traces the narrative of this fight for academic freedom that resulted in academic censure of the University of Toronto by the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Focussing upon events internal to the law school, this talk uses this affair as a case study for interrogating the vital nexus between academic freedom and and collegial governance. The speakers argue if authority is centralized, dissent is denigrated, and money increasingly shapes university academic
environments, academic freedom and collegial governance are not likely to fare well in these institutional environments.