Union calls off boycott

April 3, 1998

North America

Canada's academic trade union has called off an international boycott of the Technical University of British Columbia.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers says it is satisfied with the structural changes the soon-to-be-opened university made and has lifted its eight-month-old call for faculty around the world not to apply to the Vancouver-based university.

The CAUT, along with its provincial counterpart, had claimed that Tech BC did not offer protection for academic freedom and institutional autonomy contained in other university statutes. Tech BC was to have a government-appointed board of governors with final authority over all matters concerning research and finances.

The provincial government said its legislation, enacted in order for the university to do this, was necessary because of the school's "unique partnership with business".

In the new agreement hammered out with the unions, the university will now have an academic planning board, comprised of faculty, students, staff and industry representatives.

"In signing this agreement, we have not solved all problems at Tech BC," said CAUT president Bill Bruneau, referring to the legislation that remains in place. "But we have answered the most important questions."

Tech BC said the lifting of the boycott will help ease planning for the 3,000-student university, which expects to open in September 1999.

Ron Dickson, chair of the Tech BC board, said: "We are aggressively recruiting faculty."

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