www.trentu.ca Thursday, February 28, 2008
In response to a court decision to convict Trent University professor Paula Sherman on charges of contempt of court regarding the continuation of a blockade at a uranium mine near Sharbot Lake, some members of the Trent University community have expressed concern about the conviction and the size of the fine Sherman was required to pay to avoid jail time.
Professor Sherman was released without jail time but was required to pay a $15,000 fine. Professor Robert Lovelace of Queen’s University was also convicted and sentenced to six months in jail and fined $25,000.
“We know that some members of the Trent and Queen’s University communities are very concerned about these developments,” said Bonnie Patterson, President and Vice-Chancellor.
The President stressed that, “Trent University has already publicly affirmed its support for Professor Sherman by stating that her employment is not in jeopardy as a result of this conviction. I have also received calls of support for Professor Sherman from Trent students confirming that Paula is a highly valued academic in the Trent community.”
President Patterson reasserted Trent University’s commitment to those provisions of the collective agreement that speak to the importance of academic freedom. The agreement affirms the ability of faculty to execute their legal rights as private citizens to engage in advocacy activities, with no sanction by the University.
The President adds that the reports indicate Professor Sherman was exercising her legal right to protest. “In participating in this protest, Professor Sherman is protected from any penalties by the University,” said Patterson. She added that it is entirely expected that faculty will serve as advocates outside of the University on issues that are important to them.
Many people e-mailed Patterson asking her to issue a statement of SUPPORT for Prof Sherman. If you, like many people, think this press release does not reflect this e-mail President Bonnie Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copy it to your student association: full-time & school of education (email@example.com), parttime (firstname.lastname@example.org), grads (email@example.com) , & alumni