UManitoba threatened with censure

CAUT alleges medicine prof fired without ’just cause’

The University of Manitoba faces an academic boycott after the Canadian Association of University Teachers threatened to censure the school over allegations former family medicine professor, Larry Reynolds, was dismissed “without just cause or due process.” The decision to pursue censure of the U of M came from delegates to the national council who, coincidently, lifted censure against another institution, Firsts Nations University, on Friday.

If a formal censure is imposed, academics would be encouraged to decline academic positions and from participating in conferences and other academic events.

The decision, which also includes a threat of censure against the Winnipeg Health Regional Authority, was made after an ad-hoc committee of inquiry filed its report on the case. The CAUT is giving the U of M until November to reinstate Reynolds. “Our objective is to ensure that Dr. Reynolds is treated appropriately and in our view that means being restored to the position he held before these inappropriate actions were taken — that of a tenured, geographically full time, full professor of medicine,” executive director James Turk said in a release.

Reynolds, who previously taught at the University of Western Ontario, was recruited by the U of M to head the department of family medicine in 2001. His five year term was not renewed, and in 2008 he was dismissed from the department altogether.

According to the CAUT report  Reynolds “was dismissed from the University of Manitoba’s Department of Family Medicine without formal notice and with no hearing regarding dismissal for cause, contrary to his contract and the policies of the University of Manitoba.”

U of M director of public affairs John Danakas told the Winnipeg Free Press that the university will not comment on specific personnel issues. “The university is prepared to stand behind its position. The university does not believe the story, as related by CAUT, represents a fair and accurate account of the situation,” He said, adding, “[b]ias was present from the beginning of the CAUT investigation.”

The last time CAUT formally censured a major research institution was 31 years ago, against Memorial University.