By Ana Cristina Camacho
Beginning by continuing a discussion from a meeting held on Dec. 20, 2018, retired English professor Len Findlay spoke to the council about his concern of redacting transcripts for freedom in information requests. The university has acted in non-compliance with the privacy commissioner’s informal ruling. The information in question is an audio recording of a by-invitation-only symposium held at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015.
Findlay asked for more information to be released. He says that the recording of the symposium might be relevant to an upcoming investigation into the alleged interference of agricultural giant Monsanto in university affairs.
“Members of council may appear [to be] willing parties to a policy that masks the culture of secrecy within appeals to confidentiality,” Findlay said. “Another incentive for council to inform themselves about this matter comes in the form of an impending public disclosure by the CBC Radio Canada investigative team on the influence wielded by Monsanto on Canadian university campuses — and guess who’ll be starring in that piece.”
Findlay left after speaking. University President Peter Stoicheff speaks to Findlay’s concerns, reiterating the importance of freedom of discussion as a principle.
“We do need to separate out the rather emotional aspects and important aspects of the Monsanto piece in all of this,” Stoicheff said. “I would encourage all of us to … move towards a position based on principles, not based on the circumstantial specifics of that particular meeting, so as to safeguard all of us in the future when we have all kinds of discussions, formal and informal.”
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Perhaps any of you who were in attendance could provide context to President Stoicheff’s response. To me it is almost unintelligible.