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(Fwd) (Fwd) URGENT - sit-in at U of T (fwd)
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Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 20:45:04 -0500 (EST)
From: Stephen Pender <email@example.com>
Subject: URGENT - sit-in at U of T
URGENT: SOLIDARITY DEMONSTRATION TOMORROW,
THURSDAY MARCH 18, 1PM, SIMCOE HALL
Graduate students should be aware that 30 graduate and
undergraduate students at the University of Toronto have occupied
president Prichard's office at Simcoe Hall. Their demands:
The _immediate_ settlement, with full disclosure, of the case of Dr.
Kin-Yip Chun; the settlement should conform to the
recommendations of the
CAUT report (sections appended below; see
A full commitment to affirmative action; 30% of all new faculty hires
should be scholars of colour
A permanent student centre with space allocated to the diverse
ethno-cultural student groups at U of T
The demonstration tomorrow is meant to lend support to the
struggle for anti-racist policies and practices at U of T.
Letters of support should be sent to
Information about the Chun case, fowarded by the Canadian
Federation of Students, follows.
RALLY AGAINST RACISM AT U OF T! TOMORROW, 1PM!
U of T Researcher Wrongfully Denied Tenure-track Positions
Dr. Kin-Yip Chun served for ten years in the Department of Physics
at the University of Toronto. While his initial appointment in 1985
was that of Research Associate, from the outset he carried out all
the research, teaching and administrative duties of a professor,
was the acknowledged leader of the research program in nuclear
test ban verification, and the sole academic staff member
responsible for leading teaching and research programs in
earthquake seismology. His duties and accomplishments were
later recognized by an appointment as Assistant Professor, and
Full Member of the Graduate Faculty.
Dr. Chun has been one of Canada's most productive
with 26 research publications in internationally prestigious journals
over 1.4 million dollars in research grants; more than most
are awarded in a lifetime. Despite his record of achievements, Dr.
was passed over four times in tenure- stream competitions. In
Physics Department refused routine approval for Dr. Chun's grant
applications, effectively halting his career. In 1994, Dr. Chun's labs
were shut down and he was evicted by campus police with only
notice! For such a serious act, the University never offered, and is
apparently unable to provide, an explanation.
In 1994, the University's own appointed investigator for the case,
Dr. Cecil Yip, stated that Dr. Chun "...acted and has been treated
like a professoriate in spite of the fact he has derived his salary
support entirely from his own external research contracts. And he
has served the Department and the University well in this
capacity." Further, "...it is certainly justified for Dr. Chun to
feel...he is being penalized for good performance," and concludes:
"In my judgment Dr. Chun has been exploited by the Department."
Widespread Support for Dr Chun
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has deemed Dr. Chun's
case “significant” and is planning “a full-scale investigation”,
rejecting the University's request that they drop the case.
The Canadian Association of University Teacher's (CAUT) fact-
finding team concluded that the University “benefited from [Dr.
Chun's] services...as a faculty member without according [him] the
security and just cause protection of a tenure-track position.”
Regarding the allegations of racial or ethnic discrimination, the
Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee was “of the view that
the Yip report does not close the book on the issue.”
Dr. Chun has campaigned on his own behalf and gained support
from many organizations, including the American Association for
the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of
the Committee of Concerned Scientists Incorporated, the American
Physical Society, the Canadian Association of Physicists, and the
Overseas Chinese Physics Association.
The Committee in Support of Justice for Dr. Chun , a support group
consisting of faculty, staff, students and community members at U
of T, has been actively campaigning to hold the University
accountable for it’s treatment of Dr. Chun and it’s subsequent
handling of the case. The Committee hopes that Dr. Chun’s case
will be the beginning of an open dialogue about issues of systemic
racism and unfair hiring practices at the university.
Thursday February 11, 1999
CAUT condemns U of T's handling of Chun case
Report prompts U of T to consider court challenge
By Carl Warren, Varsity Staff
The University of Toronto treated Kin Yip Chun unfairly and is
obligated to offer him a satisfactory settlement, argues a report by
Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
The report, prepared by the CAUT's Acacedmic Freedom
Committee, was published recently in the association's newsletter
and includes 500 word responses by both Chun and Robert
Prichard, president of U of T.
Chun and his supporters will present a press conference on
to discuss the report at the Ontario legislature.
The long-awaited study conducted by CAUT, which represents
28,000 professors and librarians at 56 Canadian universities,
concluded that Chun was "treated unfairly in his contractual
relations with the university; subject to unfair procedures during at
least two of the competitions for tenure-track positions in his
One of the examples cited by the CAUT study to support its
assertions was a 1987 competition for a tenure track position.
According to the report, the competition was discontinued when "a
prominent seismologist, whose departure from the department had
created the position, indicated that he wished to return..."
Chun, who had reportedly turned down a job offer from the
University of Manitoba to compete, was allegedly not informed that
the search was called off.
Another complication raised by the CAUT was a 1991 competition
when Chun was given 1.5 working days to prepare while other
candidates were granted six.
The university disputes the truth of these incidents.
"We never agreed with that," said U of T's vice-president and
provost Adel Sedra, referring to the irregularities that have been
raised frequently since Chun's plight became public.
But Pat O'Neill, chair of CAUT's Academic Freedom Committee,
says that each party had the opportunity, prior to the study's
publication, to suggest corrections to any inaccuracies in the
original draft. O'Neill recalls that he received nothing from the
university showing that these irregularities did not occur.
"We released this report because the university should do
something serious to resolve the case," he said.
The report recommends that the university offer Chun genuine job
security as a means of wrapping up the case. Chun alleges racial
discrimination in the university's hiring practices that prevented him
from obtaining a tenure-stream position in four competitions.
Should the university and Chun find it impossible to reach an
agreement, the CAUT recommends that the matter be brought
before an independent arbitrator. That arbitrator, CAUT adds,
should have the power to award Chun a tenure-stream position if
the process deems such an appointment appropriate.
But Prichard argues that such a proposition is impossible. He
states in his published response that all tenure-stream positions
must always be determined by an open competition.
"The University of Toronto will not award a tenure-stream position
as the result of arbitration, but only by peer adjudication through
normal search processes."
O'Neill notes, however, that such a stipulation is not applied in
every circumstance. He points out that the CAUT report cites a
1990 conversion of a status-only professor—Robert Orr—to
"As we noticed in the report, this is a rule that has exceptions,"
O'Neill said, adding that the irregularities observed within certain
competitions also challenge Prichard's rationale.
"Here is a candidate who applied for a position when there was a
competition and it was a competition—there was a shortlist—Chun
gave up another job. Then it was cancelled to make room for
someone else. Is that open and fair?"
Sedra says he is not aware of the 1990 conversion of Orr but he
reasserts that there should be no exceptions to the open
"I don't know what you refer to," Sedra says of the CAUT
to Orr. "But there are not enough reasons to award a tenure-
position [in Chun's case]."
While the highly charged subject of whether or not Chun was the
victim of racial discrimination was pondered in the review, CAUT
argues that no conclusions were drawn.
Instead, it attempted to review some of the incidents associated
with the case and place them within the context of systemic,
than direct, discrimination.
"The evidence available to the committee was insufficient for it to
determine whether or not Dr. Chun was a victim of racial
But the report adds, "given the importance of this issue in Chun's
case, the Committee believes that some comment in this area is
The reasonin for this, says O'Neill, is that the courts are
increasingly examining racism within institutions through systemic
analysis because overt discrimination racism has become too
unpopular in conventional circles.
But the report goes further than simply point out a litigational trend,
Sedra points out. It states that there is enough evidence of
racism in this case to "establish a prima facie case of systemic
It highlights the ethnic composition of the physics department, a
1991 Chinese computer virus comment, and competition
irregularities as supporting evidence.
But Sedra says that the call for a prima facie case contradicts their
original pledge not to cast judgement on the racial component. He
that it is even more offensive, given that the investigators could not
interview members of the department in order to make an informed
"The report leaves the impression with the reader that there was
racial bias, but, to our knowledge, there was no investigation," said
But Selwyn Pieters, an academic board member, points out that all
of CAUT's committee inquiries at the department level were
transferred to the vice-provost's office. As a result, Pieters adds,
CAUT was unable to complete its research.
"If the investigation was not thorough, it was the university's fault,"
Still, Sedra says that they shouldn't have inferred racism. He adds
that, while the university is not currently considering such a
response, it might opt for some form of legal action against CAUT.
"We might very well decide to do that."
Indeed, these are words consistent with the seriousness with
which the university takes the racism allegations. Last spring the
university president sent a letter to CAUT urging the organization to back
off or face possible legal action.
U of T law professor Denise Reaume agrees that the CAUT was
imprudent to argue a prima facie case without it being able to
access an investigation. But she adds that the university would be
equally mistaken to launch a court action.
"That's laughable. They don't have a legal leg to walk on," she said,
adding that the CAUT is legally entitled to muse about systemic
discrimination within the context of this case.
Sedra does not provide specific grounds for why the university
would have to go the court route.
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