The Vice-President & Provost and Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity, and Culture struck an Advisory Committee to examine potential protections for professional staff leading professional experiential clinics, whose positions may require them to work on contentious issues that arouse controversy, and to examine whether additional supports or protections may be needed.
To fulfill its mandate, the Advisory Committee conducted a comprehensive internal and external scan including a Call for Submissions from the University community as well as examining the various forms of protection provided to administrative staff in comparable Canadian and American post-secondary institutions.
The Advisory Committee fulfilled its terms of reference and submitted their Report on October 28, 2021.
In their report, the Advisory Committee recommended that the University:
- Reaffirm that all members of the University of Toronto enjoy freedom of speech as outlined in the Statement on Freedom of Speech
- Clarify the general distinction between academic administrators (i.e., faculty members serving in administrative roles) and administrators (Professional/Managerial staff), a small number of whom directly support academic functions.
- Extend Academic Freedom to Professional/Managerial staff in roles requiring professional credentials and who lead clinical or experiential learning opportunities.
- Expand eligibility to use the existing Problem Resolution mechanisms for applicable staff groups to probationary employees, where the dispute is related to Academic Freedom.
The institution will be working to implement the recommendations of the report over the coming weeks and will share more information as it becomes available.