OTTAWA, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The organization representing more than
65,000 academic and general staff at 121 universities and colleges across
Canada is calling for the resignation of Minister of State for Science and
Technology Gary Goodyear following his unprecedented efforts to interfere with
funding for a major academic conference.
CAUT has learned that Goodyear telephoned the president of the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to ask him to reconsider a
peer-reviewed decision to fund an academic conference called
"Israel/Palestine: Mapping models of statehood and prospects for peace" being
held at York University later this month.
"It's unprecedented for a minister - let alone a minister from the
department that funds the granting councils - to intervene personally with a
granting council president to suggest that he review funding for an academic
conference," said CAUT executive director James Turk. "This kind of direct
political interference in a funding decision made through an independent,
peer-reviewed process is unacceptable and sets a very dangerous precedent."
Turk said that a principal role of universities in democratic societies
is to allow a full, open debate of controversial issues.
"For a minister to intervene in an effort to derail an academic
conference on behalf of special interest groups is simply unacceptable, and
compromises the integrity and public purpose of universities," said Turk.
"That's precisely what happened here - when you are the minister from the
department that funds the granting councils, and you call the president of a
granting council to ask him to reconsider funding, the message is very clear."
For further information:
For further information: James L. Turk, Executive Director, (613)
726-5176; Kerry Pither, Communications Officer, (613) 726-5186; mobile (613)