In the Fall of 2020, very serious concerns arose within and beyond the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law regarding the search process for a new director of its International Human Rights Program. The process had been discontinued at a late stage. Apparent breaches of confidentiality fostered a public narrative that led many members of the community to question the integrity of the search. In particular, many were concerned that inappropriate external influence had been allowed to interfere with the search process, and that academic freedom had been violated.
These allegations were deeply troubling to all members of the University community, since we hold the principles of merit-based hiring and academic freedom as fundamental to our mission and ethos.
In December 2020, I commissioned the Honourable Thomas Cromwell, CC, to conduct an independent and impartial review of the search process.
I am posting Mr. Cromwell’s report here along with my response. The links are below. I encourage everyone to read these documents closely. I would like to highlight Mr. Cromwell’s central finding:
…having reviewed all of the relevant facts as fully as I can, I would not draw the inference that external influence played any role in the decision to discontinue the recruitment of the Preferred Candidate. The inference that such influence played a role in that decision is the basis of the concern about academic freedom but, as I see it, that inference is not justified.
– Hon. Thomas Cromwell, Independent Review, p. 6.
The full report can be found here:
My response can be found here:
PRESIDENT’S RESPONSE to the Independent Review of the Search Process for the Directorship of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, by the Honourable Thomas A. Cromwell, C.C.
I would like to thank Mr. Cromwell for his thorough work and detailed report.