Statement on the Search Process for a Director of the International Human Rights Program at the Faculty of Law

Earlier this fall, Dean Edward Iacobucci requested an impartial review pertaining to the recent search for a new Director of the International Human Rights Program, a non-academic staff position within the Faculty of Law. The search has generated controversy despite public statements by me and the Dean that provided the basis for the decision in the search.

I agree with the Dean that an impartial review would be useful. We share the goals of promoting best practices in searches at U of T as well as enhancing transparency. Therefore, I have engaged Professor Bonnie Patterson, CM, OOnt, MLS, LL.D, ICD.D, a well-respected consultant in higher education and governance, to serve as external reviewer. Professor Patterson is former President of the Council of Ontario Universities and former President and Vice-Chancellor of Trent University. Her reputation as a wise and impartial academic colleague makes her ideal to conduct this impartial review.

I have asked Professor Patterson to review all relevant documents and conduct interviews in order to provide (a) a comprehensive factual narrative of events pertaining to the search committee process and (b) the basis for the decision to discontinue the candidacy of the search committee’s preferred candidate. I have also asked her to provide her conclusions on whether existing University policies and procedures were followed in this search, including those relating to confidentiality obligations in search processes. I would note that no one is obliged to participate in interviews with Professor Patterson; the decision about whether to do so is completely voluntary.

Professor Patterson has been asked to submit a written report to me, the Provost, and the Dean by mid-January at the latest. That report’s findings will eventually be made public on this website.