Brave Academics

Finally some academics with spunk. The following twenty two academic members of CUPE Ontario (at the University of Toronto) have courageously spoken up for academic freedom and for the integrity and credibility of their union which Sid Ryan has undeniably damaged. They are:

Paul Nahme, Jenn Cianca, Carolyn Reimer, Ian Richards, Callie Callon, Lindsay Ann Cox, Jonthan Newman, Sarah Kleeb, Shari Goldberg, Jade Weimer, Tim Langille, Emily Springay, Matt King, Amy Fisher, Zvi Halpern, Aldea Muldhern, Tema Smith, G. Anthony Bruno, Kathleen Gibbons, Nicholas Dion, Benjamin W. Carter, Jason McKinney

In an open letter to Sid Ryan they denounce the resolution to boycott Israeli Universities as an action taken far outside CUPE’s proper role.

…The primary mission of the union is to ensure the fair employment and treatment of its members. The current leadership has overreached its mandate, recklessly and irresponsibly dabbling in complex international politics. This leadership has demonstrated its resolve to continue in this fashion even though it is not competent to do so, it has not been elected to do so, and it is not in its jurisdiction to do so. These actions have harmed our union.

They decry the partisanship injected into what should be a non-partisan body depending as it does on dues from all its members who may not agree with this very political stance.

This misguided political agenda was never put to the vote of the total membership, and demonstrates the degree to which CUPE Ontario policy is the expression of an autocratic minority that has disregarded the tenets of the democratic socialist tradition; namely, the freedom of discussion, votes involving all members and transparency.

We think the terms “democratic” and “socialist” are antithetical and we would say that the way CUPE Ontario has acted is very much in the socialist tradition but, never mind, this is a small quibble.

These academics suggest that anti-semitism is behind Ryan’s actions or at least that it has this appearance and this gives credence to those who claim this, which is damaging to CUPE’s image.

“Why is the leadership doing anything that could be remotely construed as anti-Semitic?” This accusation of anti-Semitism shames our union. Such policies are an inept and disgraceful abuse of the authority vested in this leadership.

They are not kind to Sid Ryan; they are scathing in their criticism of him personally.

Freedom of thought is a most fundamental human right, yet it seems to be a right that Sid Ryan has no trouble trampling on. Sid Ryan seems to think that he and his closest colleagues have the right to determine which academics we ought to listen to and which ought to be censored. That tells us all we need to know about Mr. Ryan’s estimation of his own moral and intellectual capacities, and how little he values those of others.

They call for his resignation.

But we wonder. Could Ryan have done this all on his own? We suspect there are others in CUPE Ontario’s leadership who should also be shown the door.


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