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Academics, Students, Community Members Slam Carleton U Attempt to Stifle Class Discussions and Academic Freedom

November 13, 2012

Ottawa - Today, Carleton University academics delivered an open letter to Carleton University President Roseanne Runte, the Board of Governors, the Senate, and Commission members in response to Carleton University administrators' attempt to restrict academic freedom on campus. The letter rejects the Report of Carleton's Commission on Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Racial Relations on Campus, and demands that the Report and its recommendations be rescinded. Signed by over 800 academics, students and community members, it also criticizes the biased and partisan process that was used in producing the report.

The letter highlights the Report's egregious violations of the core principles of social science methodology. The use of faulty and biased methodology to justify political ends is extremely unfortunate for a university that prides itself on research excellence. The letter opposes Carleton University's attempt to restrict the free exchange of ideas on campus by requiring faculty, teaching assistants and students to respect the beliefs of other students. This has major implications for class discussions about diverse topics such as evolution, racism, colonization, the Middle East, etc. It would also violate the mission, academic vision and values of the university as a space where ideas are exchanged, discussed and debated, as outlined in its 2010-2012 Academic Plan.

It is noteworthy that eight members of Carleton's Commission on Inter-Cultural, Inter-Religious and Inter-Racial Relations on Campus have signed the open letter demanding that the Commission?s report be rescinded. Furthermore, The Commission's Chair, Landon Pearson herself cast doubt on the credibility of the Report and its recommendations in recently stating that she thought the Report was the Commission's "subjective" interpretation of the cultural climate on campus. (The Charlatan, November 8, 2012). This contradicts page 3 of the Report which states that "the Commission felt bound by the survey results and the witnesses it heard."

To see the letter and the list of signatories, please visit

For more information contact:
Nahla Abdo
Signatories of the Open Letter to Carleton University
Phone: 647-500-2577

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