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University of Saskatchewan faculty, administration in court to argue tenure veto

Thorvaldson Building on the University of Saskatchewan campus opened in 1924. The University of Saskatchewan is in court arguing about whether the school’s president should have a veto over tenure.

David Stobbe/The Globe and Mail

The University of Saskatchewan is in court arguing about whether the school's president should have a veto over tenure, News Talk 650 CKOM reports.

The case stems from a decision in March by an arbitrator.

He ruled that the Saskatoon university's governors should not have let then-president Peter MacKinnon reject tenure for a sociology professor.

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Of particular importance has been defining exactly what tenure is and how it ought to be governed.

The school's administrations argues that tenure is covered under sections of the Universities Act that could be interpreted to give the president a veto over tenure.

The faculty association argues that the issue falls under the collective agreement and the word 'tenure' never actually appears anywhere in the act.

Faculty spokesman Eric Neufeld says the debate has dragged on through various dispute processes.

"This has gone through a number of judicial reviews ... several grievances and so forth," he said Wednesday outside Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench.

Neufeld said faculty members are disappointed in the administration's decision to appeal after losing in arbitration. He also said that win or lose, the association wants a full review of the university's hiring, firing and tenure protocols.

Judge Robert Laing is expected to give his decision within a few weeks.

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