Faculty’s New Code of Conduct Creates a “Chill” over Mount Royal University
Restriction of academic freedom for professors is a student issue too and diminishes the university’s atmosphere
Amy Tucker, Contributor
Mount Royal University, in compliance with Alberta legislation, officially approved the controversial code of conduct for faculty and staff members in late October, a code that had received 224 signatures in opposition to its earlier draft.
Scott Murray, Associate Professor of History, says the code creates a chilling effect over academic freedom creating an issue that the MRU Faculty Association says may trickle down to students as well.
Murray, award winner for the study of human rights, says the code surpasses what Alberta legislation required of the university; to create provisions that employees conduct themselves impartially, that employees act in a way which doesn’t further their self or private interests, and that employees disclose any conflict of interests.
“The code that wound up being produced went way beyond that and engages in the policing of behaviours of faculty and staff by requiring that we act in the best interest of the university,” said Murray.
MRU President David Docherty could not be reached on time but told Metro Calgary in an email statement that the MRU board of governors respects the consultative process and values the feedback received thus far.
Until then however, faculty still remain concerned over a few of the code’s provisions including one that requires employees to report any suspected breaches of the code by colleagues. Murray says it goes against the type of atmosphere a university should provide.
“If I knew for example that one of my colleagues or the person who delivers our mail was violating any university policy, I would have an obligation to basically snitch on them.”
Marc Schroeder, President of MRU Faculty Association says that while students aren’t subject to the code, it could potentially create the image that the University may not defend freedom of expression.
“I think students should be interested in seeing a code of conduct form for faculty and others that doesn’t limit their right to ask tough questions,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder says despite the code being approved, he is optimistic that a review process will occur soon where the remaining issues will be addressed.