The University of Saskatchewan’s Board of governors was faced with backlash after the controversial firing of Robert Buckingham, a tenured executive, caused outrage across the province and the country. The backlash culminated a protest on campus involving hundreds of students and faculty members.
Well fear not, laymen! The Great Council of Governators has convened, and a
decision edict has been declared! University provost Brett Fairbairn, in apparent terror over the verdict that would fall upon him like an executioner’s axe, decided to axe himself and resign before the Board was slated to meet. In his letter of resignation, Fairbairn stated that he had “contributed to the growth of our university’s reputation” throughout his career as provost. It’s good to know that some people still believe that U of S has a reputation. But the Board still met, and they had to take some substantive measures to prove that their meeting wasn’t just a big game of “Follow the Leader”, for once. And so, like mutineers on a ship doomed to the depths of the ocean, they decided to toss the captain overboard in order to SOSA: “Save Our Sorry Asses”.
Early this morning the Board of Governors declared the termination of University president Ilene Busch-Vishniac. The President had admitted that the university made a mistake when they fired tenured professor Robert Buckingham, but insisted that faculty members are expected to not disagree with administrative prerogatives, ever.
Some are hailing this as a monumental step in favour of academic freedom, but whether the firing of Busch-Vishniac really signals some fundamental change in University conduct remains to be seen. After all, it was still the Supreme Council of Shady Administrators that fired her. That same council still pledged its support to “the goal of financial sustainability and renewal“—a blanketed affirmation that they still back the controversial TransformUS project at the root of U of S tensions.
So was the President really the villain in this situation? Or was she just a scapegoat tossed away to appease the masses?
The head count now stands at three fired, with one re-hired. Let’s see what comes next!