Sigh of relief for 'think tank' and two universities
It’s a sigh of relief for a local think tank and two universities
Published Monday, November 26, 2012 5:38PM EST
Last Updated Monday, November 26, 2012 6:46PM EST
It’s a huge sigh of relief for a local think tank and two universities.
For months, the Canadian Association of University Teachers threatened to black list the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University for the way decisions were being made at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
The association was worried that Jim Balsillie and his think tank, CIGI, had too much power over academic decisions at the Balsillie School.
But a new agreement has lifted those concerns.
“For us it’s a moment of celebration because we always believed that there was always a good governance agreement in place for the Balsillie School.” Fred Kuntz, V.P. of Public Affairs of CIGI says.
Jim Balsillie teamed up with the think thank, CIGI and the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to create the Balsillie School of International Affairs.
But the Association of University Teachers felt CIGI held too much power.
“Whenever donors enter into agreements with universities, they often want to have a voice in those academic matters,” James Turk, Exec. Director, CAUT says, “Whether it be curriculum or hiring or whatever. Much of that wasn’t the case here. But some of it was.”
Earlier this year, the association threatened to censure the schools. A censure would have meant a black mark against the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and CIGI.
It also would have discouraged other academics from getting involved with the institutions.
Both universities and CIGI updated their governance framework.
On Saturday the association reviewed the changes and felt that it satisfactorily resolved the problems it had.
When asked if the Balsillie School was targeted because of the donor’s name, this was the response from Fred Kuntz. “People, who give, should not be turned into lightning rods for agendas or for particular concerns or beefs that people have. We have to thank donors for what they do and at the same time be sure that rules are good and clear.”
More than one hundred delegates attended the meeting on Saturday and the decision to drop the threat was unanimous.
The University of Waterloo issued a statement late this afternoon saying it’s happy with this positive outcome. Wilfrid Laurier issued something similar saying they are pleased.