Firing of Athabasca University President ‘politics over education’
CUPE 3911 Press Release, 9 February 2023
Further labour unrest will follow if UCP keeps interfering in university
EDMONTON – The union representing academic instructors at Athabasca University is coming to the defense of fired President Peter Scott. CUPE 3911 co-chair Ann Reynolds called Scott’s dismissal “shocking and disappointing” and noted that the UCP government move had more to do with rural politics than academic standards.
“The UCP prioritized politics over advanced education by trying to force AU employees to relocate to Athabasca, even though the town doesn’t have room. At the same time the world is moving to remote worksites, the UCP is trying to take away Athabasca University’s greatest advantage: we’ve been delivering online learning for decades.”
Reynolds says the replacement of Scott and members of the AU board will result in more appointments of UCP members and others with little background in running online academic institutions.
“Dr. Scott is an expert in on-line and open education. He vigorously protested using a university to further the UCP’s political agenda. He was fired without cause while dealing with the death of his wife. This is undue interference in the running of Athabasca University and is a danger to the needed arm’s length relationship with the government of the day.”
Reynolds said CUPE 3911 members have always worked from home and few, if any, will move to Athabasca. “Firing Dr Scott will intensify the problems that exist and will create labour unrest.”
CUPE 3911 is the only trade union in Alberta consisting wholly of academic instructors. We are part-time, hired to teach specific courses in our academic fields under the direction of faculty coordinators, with whom many of us share the same credentials. This arrangement allows Athabasca University the economic flexibility to have a low ratio of faculty to students while still maintaining academic rigour.
CUPE 3911, Co-chairs Ronnie Leah, Glynnis Lieb, and Ann Reynolds
Selected resources on this topic:
Martin Weller blogged on February 6th about “Rough(y) Times at Athabasca”