We finally have a statement from President Turpin aiming to clarify his Election Act statement of 1 March 2019. Unfortunately, this second statement does not clarify the crucial issue.
It is good that the statement explicitly notes that academic staff and postdoctoral fellows have the right to
. . . engag[e] with political parties, their candidates or other political party representatives in conducting teaching and research, including their public service and public discourse work.
But neither the cancelled event at the Ronning Centre at Augustana nor the video that was pulled down involved academic staff members doing that. They involved political scientists at the University of Alberta doing the job of analyzing the political landscape in Alberta and offering their views on it. These are core activities of the University protected by academic freedom and in no way to be constrained or suppressed by either a provincial or federal election.
In President Turpin’s view, were the event and the video permissible activities? How, then, was the event cancelled and the video suppressed? The University community needs absolute clarity on this matter.