Sent on behalf of David Monod, WLUFA President:
The Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA) represents full-time and contract faculty and librarians in their employment with Wilfrid Laurier University. Over the last several months two of our members have been subject to discipline imposed by the University Administration as a result of a meeting that took place between the two of them, a University manager, and Ms. Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant in a course for which one of the members was responsible. Ms. Shepherd secretly recorded the meeting, sent the recording to the national media, and it was then distributed via the internet.
In the past week, both Ms. Shepherd and Dr. Jordan Peterson have announced the commencement of legal actions against the University, the two faculty members and the University manager who called the original meeting. The Association is working closely with the two faculty members in their defence of the actions, providing them with support and legal advice as they prepare for the court proceedings. It has also challenged the University under the terms of the Collective Agreement for its actions and statements regarding our two members.
As the legal rigmarole intensifies, the Association will work to keep attention focused on the following three principles that we believe are important to our community:
- The academic freedom of the two faculty members who expressed their views about Ms. Shepherd’s conduct in a tutorial she led;
- The fact that a course instructor is responsible for the content of a course, has academic freedom in teaching, and has an obligation to supervise and, if necessary, correct the conduct of teaching assistants hired to assist with their courses;
- The responsibility of the University for the actions of its managers and the defence of its own policies.
It is the Association’s responsibility not just to protect the rights of our members under the Collective Agreement, but to ensure that the University community works reasonably, collegially, and in the interests of all of its members.