August 21, 2014 3:24 pm
Updated: August 22, 2014 10:36 am

Tentative deal reached between U of S, faculty association


Watch above: new deal would strip U of S president of tenure veto

SASKATOON – The University of Saskatchewan and the faculty association have agreed on a tentative three-year agreement.

The deal, which still needs to be ratified, includes revised tenure procedures that have been in dispute between the parties and which the university calls a “key element” in reaching the agreement.

Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the university president will no longer have power to veto tenure for professors.

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The issue came to a head this spring when Dr. Robert Buckingham was stripped of his tenure by then president Ilene Busch-Vishniac after he spoke out against TransformUS, the university’s plan to cut its budget.

Busch-Vishniac was fired from her position following the decision. She was replaced on an interim basis by well-known historian and former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor Dr. Gordon Barnhart.

There has also been a case before the courts over tenure dating back three years ago when then president Peter MacKinnon nixed a professor’s nomination for tenure.

An arbitration ruling earlier this year took that ability away from the U of S president, one the university disagreed with at the time.

The university said the change is an important step in leaving the past behind.

“I’m just super delighted that we were able to sit down with the faculty association, and we were able to come up with a tentative agreement,” said Ernie Barber, the university’s interim provost and vice-president academic.

“Tenure is a critically important milestone in the career of a faculty member. And it’s also one of the most important decisions a university makes, to grant tenure.”

“I believe the proposed changes are respectful of our collegial processes and will bring resolution to this important issue that has been widely debated in recent months.”

The faculty association agrees.

“We believe this agreement is a critical step forward in order to place the recent events at the university behind us and continue to build the reputation of the U of S as a world-class post-secondary institution,” said Jim Cheesman, chief negotiator for the faculty association.

Full details of the tentative deal have been released to the association’s 1,100 members, who are expected to hold a ratification vote in September.

The board of governors is expected to ratify the agreement in October..

With files from The Canadian Press

© 2014 Shaw Media

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