Sunday, 6 November 2011

U of S Senators Demand Action from Board of Governors re: MacKinnon's Political Endorsement

November 3, 2011

Sandra Finley
656 Saskatchewan Crescent East
Saskatoon, SK   S7N 0L1
t 306-373-8078   e

Members of the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan
c/o  Dr. Lea Pennock
University Secretary
The University of Saskatchewan  
105 Administration Place
Saskatoon, SK                                               t 306-966-4632                                  
S7N 5A2                                                         e

cc:  Senators Miller, Hande, Fortugno, Schriml  (by email)

Dear Members of the Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan:


“Rob Norris is the finest Minister responsible for post-secondary education that I have been privileged to work with in my thirteen years as President of the University of Saskatchewan”  (MacKinnon, September 2, 2011.)  Mr. Norris is the Saskatchewan Party candidate in Saskatoon-Greystone provincial constituency and is the incumbent Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration.  The endorsement is re-produced in his election pamphlet, with the permission of Dr. MacKinnon.

We, University Senators, request

-       In the exercise of its responsibility for the autonomy of the University, the Board of Governors censure the President for his compromising statement and subsequent authorization to use it in an election pamphlet.

Since Saskatchewan has fixed election dates, President MacKinnon would have known that this quote would be favourable to Norris’ re-election chances. He gave permission for its use after the writ was drawn up.  This is an inappropriate use of the position of President of the University.

President MacKinnon and Provost Fairbairn overrode the choice of the Search Committee for the Dean of Law to put in place University of Alberta Law Professor Anand, thesis supervisor of the president’s son.  This was also an inappropriate use of the President’s position.  It is documented at   
Censure is warranted.


The U of S Conflict of Interest Policy states that a “Conflict of interest is a breach of an obligation to the University that has the effect of advancing one’s own interest or the interests of others in a way detrimental to the interests of, or potentially harmful to, the integrity of the University.  Conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest must be avoided.”

We request

-        that the Board of Governors ask Governor Hopkins to permanently stand down as the Chair of the Selection Committee for the next President of the University.

Governor Hopkins is a member of the CAMECO Board of Directors since 1992, she stands to gain through her considerable holdings of CAMECO shares ($1.8 million as at end of 2009) if the University continues its friendly posture towards promoting the nuclear industry.  The University has done this in part through its hasty establishment of the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation, CCNI  (University Council, 22nd of September, 2011;  Board of Governors, October 14th, 2011).

In defence of the best traditions of the University,

_____"Sandra Finley"________

Sandra Finley, Elected Senator

On my own and on behalf of:  
Stefania Fortugno, Elected Senator
Mary Jean Hande, Elected Senator                                      
Jordan W. Miller, Elected Senator
Ronald Schriml, Elected Senator

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