WATERLOO, Ont. (Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010) -- Earlier this year, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University took the difficult decision to seek a new director for the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). The decision to replace any administrator is a serious one, requiring extensive thought and careful attention to process.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers appointed Prof. Len Findlay, University of Saskatchewan, as a one-person investigator.  The CAUT report has been made available to the media.

The BSIA partners unanimously and strenuously disagree with the CAUT report’s findings and interpretation of the events. The report is based on a flawed and incomplete interpretation of the circumstances and rationale for the decision. Although privacy and legal matters limited the information that could be shared, all three BSIA partners (Laurier, Waterloo and The Centre for International Governance Innovation) co-operated with Dr. Findlay and provided as much information as is possible when dealing with a personnel matter. (However, Appendix 9 of the CAUT report makes clear the universities’ concerns.)

The two universities remain confident of the decision to seek a new director. The University of Waterloo, where Prof. Thakur retained his academic appointment, followed appropriate procedures throughout, past the point where Prof. Thakur withdrew from the standard review procedures outlined in Waterloo’s faculty agreement.

Academic freedom is foundational to programming at the Balsillie School.  It has never been constrained at the School and was never an issue in the departure of the former director, whose role was primarily administrative in nature.

Donor influence was absolutely not an issue in the departure of the former director; the donor was not involved. The decision to end Prof. Thakur’s term as director was made following a fair and thorough process.

The Balsillie School of International Affairs is a world-class institution with a very bright future. As the Balsillie School enters its third year, the partners look forward to working together to support the administrative structures required by such an innovative and exciting academic institution.

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Michael Strickland
University of Waterloo
Assistant Director, Media Relations
Telephone: 519-888-4777, ext. 8477
E-mail: [email protected]

Kevin Crowley
Director: Communications and Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University
Telephone: 519-573-1084
Email: [email protected]


The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.