Anna -Lilja Dawson
Saskatoon (CUP) — On May 21, the University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors announced the termination of Ilene Busch-Vishniac’s appointment as university president and vice-chancellor.
Gordon Barnhart, former lieutenant-governor, has been named acting president while the board searches to officially fill the position that Busch-Vishniac held for just under two years.
Calls for Busch-Vishniac’s resignation came after the firing and rehiring of Robert Buckingham, the former dean of the School of Public Health, on May 14 and 15 and the subsequent resignation of university provost and vice-president academic Brett Fairbairn on May 19.
In the wake of these two events, the U of S has been under fire for tightening its reins on academic freedom and freedom of expression, stripping faculty of tenure and implementing TransformUS.
TransformUS is a cost cutting initiative intended to save the university approximately $25 million.
“It was a painful week for the University of Saskatchewan,” the Board of Governors stated in a letter to the campus community. “The board was deeply troubled by this situation and committed itself to repairing the university’s reputation.”
U of S Students’ Union president Max FineDay said that university administration should have listened to the union as it spoke out against TransformUS in previous months.
“I think this is indicative of what the USSU has been saying all year in that the TransformUS process has been flawed since the beginning,” FineDay said. “Unfortunately, the former president and the former provost had to suffer the consequences by simply not listening to our advice which was to meaningfully engage the campus community.”