Saskatchewan president fired after sacked professor row

A Canadian university president at the centre of a row about the sacking of a professor who spoke out about planned cuts has been dismissed.

May 22, 2014

Source: University of Saskatchewan

The “termination, without cause” of University of Saskatchewan president Ilene Busch-Vishniac from her post comes after the institution was condemned for sacking Robert Buckingham, former executive director of its School of Public Health. He was reported to have criticised Dr Busch-Vishniac for threatening to end the tenure of professors who spoke out about a proposed cost-saving plan.

Professor Buckingham was later reinstated to his faculty post. However, the provost behind the decision to dismiss him, Brett Fairbairn, resigned from his position earlier this week citing his “genuine interest in the well-being” of the university as the reason.

A statement announcing the dismissal of Dr Busch-Vishniac, published on Saskatchewan’s website, says the university’s board of governors “feels strongly that the university’s ongoing operations and its reputational rebuilding efforts will be more effective with new leadership”.

“It was a painful week for the University of Saskatchewan,” it continues. “Many students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the U of S, and the people of the province generally, were dismayed by news emerging from the campus over the last seven days. The board was deeply troubled by this situation and committed itself to repairing the university’s reputation.”

The board has named Gordon Barnhart, previously an adjunct professor in the university’s department of history, as acting president, and has stated that Dr Busch-Vishniac is still eligible to take up her faculty post in the university’s College of Engineering.

chris.parr@tsleducation.com

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