Alberta College of Art and Design must reinstate fired professor: CAUT

OTTAWA, May 13, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is joining with the Alberta College of Art and Design Faculty Association (ACADFA) to challenge the firing of an Alberta College of Art and Design professor following a controversial student art performance.

"We find it unacceptable that an art college would fire a professor because one of his student's projects, while legal, was controversial," said James L. Turk, executive director of CAUT.  "Universities and colleges should be places where free expression and creative exploration is encouraged."

Turk said that CAUT has retained legal counsel to represent ACADFA and the professor. A grievance was filed Friday demanding that ACAD reinstate the professor, compensate him for lost wages and benefits, and formally apologize to him.

"Should ACAD refuse, we will ensure the matter can be taken to arbitration," said Turk.

Professor Gordon Ferguson, head of ACAD's sculpture department, was dismissed on May 6, 2013 following an investigation into a student's performance art project. For the project, the student killed a chicken in College cafeteria, plucked it and dropped it into a pot as if preparing to eat it.  In the letter of termination, the ACAD administration says the incident was "prejudicial to ACAD's business and reputation."

"The ACAD administration itself has done serious harm to its reputation by firing Professor Ferguson," Turk said. "Our organization will be supporting Professor Ferguson to the fullest in this case. The college should do the right thing by recognizing that it made a terrible error, and it should reinstate him immediately with full compensation."

The Canadian Association of University Teachers represents 68,000 academic and general staff at over 120 universities and colleges across Canada.

SOURCE: Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

For further information:

James L. Turk, Executive Director

(613) 277-0488 (c)

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Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

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