ULFA Executive Committee’s Statement on Palestine, Israel, and Academic Freedom

The current conflict in Palestine and Israel has reverberated around the world and here in Canada. On Canadian university and college campuses it has led to robust discussion from students and staff, both academic and non-academic. At the same time, there have been some disturbing interventions by university administrations and others, for example, the naming in the provincial legislature by the Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities of several professors for alleged misconduct on this issue.

The Executive Committee of ULFA stands with you and protects your right to exercise your academic freedom at this historical moment and at all others. By Article 11.01 of our Collective Agreement:

This freedom is central to the University’s mission and purpose and entails the right to participate in public life, to criticize University or other administrations, governments or public figures, to champion unpopular positions, to engage in frank discussion of controversial matters, to raise questions and challenges which may be viewed as counter to the beliefs of society, and to act according to the Member’s standards as a professional in the Member’s field.

Our Collective Agreement also states that academic freedom must be used “in an honest and careful search for knowledge.” It need not be gentle, diplomatic, or nice. Critical and engaged scholarship certainly should not be censored at this, or any, historical moment.

We emphasize that the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge is co-signatory to the Collective Agreement and should protect your academic freedom and the freedom of expression of students. We encourage the University to reaffirm its commitment to the protection of academic freedom and the freedom of expression. Our Members must be protected from hate, discrimination, and/or silencing during this crisis and at all times. For its part, ULFA will work hard to assure this protection.

The ULFA Executive Committee