Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon University Offers to Reinstate Tenure to Fired University Professor

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatoon University Offers to Reinstate Tenure to Fired University Professor

Article excerpt

University offers to reinstate tenure for prof

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SASKATOON - The University of Saskatchewan president says the school "made a blunder" when it fired a professor for speaking out about budget cuts and so has offered him back his tenure position.

Senior leaders at the Saskatoon-based school said Thursday that Robert Buckingham's termination had been reconsidered and reversed. University president Ilene Busch-Vishniac said academic freedom and tenure are sacrosanct.

"We accept that we made a blunder and we hold tenure in the same high regard that everyone does throughout the world," Busch-Vishniac said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"We will be doing a post-mortem to figure out how we ended up in this awkward position, to fix it and to make sure it never happens again."

Busch-Vishniac said the school is not trying to muzzle professors. Academic leaders, such as deans, can disagree with the changes being proposed -- in private, she said.

"But once a decision is made, we expect all of the leadership of the university to align behind that decision and that's where we ran into some problems, so that's why Dr. Buckingham was removed as executive director of the School of Public Health."

He is not being allowed to return to that post.

The Canadian Press could not reach Buckingham for comment, but he told local media that he will accept the tenure position.

Buckingham was escorted from campus by police Wednesday after writing a letter to the government and Opposition New Democrats about the overhaul at the university.

The school released a plan last month that includes cutting jobs, reorganizing the administration and dissolving some programs to try to save about $25 million. The plan calls for the School of Public Health to be rolled into the College of Medicine, but Buckingham worries that could jeopardize the school's recently earned international accreditation.

The cuts are part of a bigger goal to address a projected $44.5-million deficit in the school's operating budget by 2016.

The university's decision to reinstate Buckingham came shortly after Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he wanted an urgent meeting between the province and the university board. …

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