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The former secretary at the centre of a spy affair reverberating through the University of Toronto says she kept her job -- despite being a mole for the intelligence service and police -- because top administrators feared scandal.

"The only reason that the university didn't fire me was, yes, because they were afraid I would go to the press, said Isabel Laurence, an informant for the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service at the country's largest university from 1986 to 1990.

On the weekend, The Globe and Mail revealed that Ms. Laurence spied on two distinguished geology professors, Anthony Naldrett and John Gittins, providing CSIS and the Mounties with copies of her bosses' private letters, Telexes and other correspondence.

The revelations prompted the head of the association representing more than 30,000 professors across the country to demand an urgent meeting with CSIS director Ward Elcock.

"I am concerned and angry," James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said yesterday.

Mr. Turk said that CSIS requires the approval of the federal Solicitor-General before it can conduct undercover operations on university campuses.

Ms. Laurence said she spied on her bosses because she was concerned about their contacts with scientists in former Eastern-Bloc countries.

Despite her suspicions, both academics were conducting legitimate scientific research. They have never been charged with espionage-related offences.

Ms. Laurence said she told university administrators about her covert work in 1989, but she was not told to stop her spying.

Senior university officials chose not to discipline Ms. Laurence. Instead, she remained at the university until her retirement in 1996.

When Prof. Gittins learned in 1992 that Ms. Laurence was still employed by the university, he wrote an angry letter to Prof. Michael Finlayson, then vice-president of human resources.

In his reply, Prof. Finlayson acknowledged the academic's anger and sense of betrayal but said Ms. Laurence was performing her new "responsibilities prudently."

CSIS and the Solicitor-General's office were unavailable for comment yesterday.