Amnesty International cuts ties with U of T due to ongoing scandal
Renowned international human rights advocacy organization Amnesty International has dramatically ended a four-year-long relationship with the University of Toronto over an ongoing controversy in which the institution is accused of not hiring a certain candidate due to her views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Scholar Valentina Azarova was up for the job of director of U of T's International Human Rights Program (IHRP), and was apparently the "strong, unanimous and enthusiastic first choice" of the hiring team, said a Supreme Court justice who was probing the incident.
But, some believed she was not granted the position due to the outside influences of a donor to the school, though an independent review concluded that this was not the case.
Pressure continues to mount over #UofTScandal. @amnesty has just suspended its relationship with @UofT, @UTlaw & @IHRP_UofT "until such time as the #CAUT censure has been lifted and a sustainable roadmap for the future of the #IHRP has been put in place." https://t.co/JdEe9usuzO pic.twitter.com/Rh98GNR8Xo— Samer Muscati (@SamerMuscati) May 18, 2021
It is what led the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) to boycott the school, with tens of thousands members refusing to speak at or associate with the institution due to what they considered to be a breach of academic freedom to express views sympathetic to Palestine.
Amnesty International's move is in support of the CAUT, it said in a press release, which states that "like the CAUT, we are greatly concerned about the sequence of events that led to the Faculty of Law's decision not to appoint Dr. Valentina Azarova as IHRP Director."
"We are unable to take at face value the claim that the hire was frozen solely due to immigration issues, rather than external influence from a major university donor critical of Dr. Azarova's academic work on Israel and Palestine."
The non-governmental organization infers that a future relationship with the school may be possible after the CAUT decides to lift its censure, and "a sustainable roadmap for the future of the IHRP has been put in place."
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