The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

U of S president Ilene Busch-Vishniac fired

By in News

Ilene Busch-VishniacOn May 21, the University of Saskatchewan’s Board of Governors announced the termination of Ilene Busch-Vishniac’s appointment as university president and vice-chancellor.

Gordon Barnhart has been named acting president while the board searches to officially fill the position that Busch-Vishniac held for just under two years.

Calls for Busch-Vishniac’s resignation came after the firing and rehiring of Robert Buckingham, the former dean of the School of Public Health, on May 14 and 15 and the subsequent resignation of university provost and vice-president academic Brett Fairbairn on May 19.

In the wake of these two events, the U of S has been under fire for tightening its reins on academic freedom and freedom of expression, stripping faculty of tenure and implementing TransformUS.

TransformUS is a cost cutting initiative intended to save the university approximately $25 million.

“It was a painful week for the University of Saskatchewan,” the Board of Governors stated in a letter to the campus community. “The board was deeply troubled by this situation and committed itself to repairing the university’s reputation.”

U of S Students’ Union president Max FineDay said that university administration should have listened to the union as it spoke out against TransformUS in previous months.

“I think this is indicative of what the USSU has been saying all year in that the TransformUS process has been flawed since the beginning,” FineDay said. “Unfortunately, the former president and the former provost had to suffer the consequences by simply not listening to our advice which was to meaningfully engage the campus community.”

Photo: University of Saskatchewan/flickr

  • Vaughn Friesen

    I think a lot of the students and faculty are happy with this decision. But I wonder what will happen with TransformUS now – will it be scrapped?

    • Vector

      I agree with you. The key point of our concern should not be the resignation of the president. It should be the program TransformUS and whether the program returns to the right way.
      To make the university much more efficient and worldwide recognized, some sort of transformation shall be necessary.

  • B1

    Coming from a U of S Engineering graduate — this experience resonates as yet another painful example of the worst stereotypical attributes of engineers including, but not limited to: delusional and strict abidance to the simplified ideologue of “the system exists, therefore it is perfect” — case and point TransformUS — as well as arrogance, lack of interpersonal and social aptitude, mistaken belief in one’s own business acumen because of a false sense of superiority emanating from the ability to do some math, an inability to assess the true meaning behind the parameters being analyzed, an ability to adapt and create, and an inability to assess problems comprehensively because of a lack of critical thought.

    After attending this college for four years, the truth is about 80 % of the faculty and students believe the existence of a process or a system is evidence of that process or system’s perfection (too high of a % IMO). Furthermore, the belief that most of our school work is somehow separate or different from the worst qualities of other areas of study — i.e. trivial memorization — is truly laughable. We pride ourselves on problem solving but most of our classes can be chalked up to the memorization of a process and little more.

    Anyway, that may have been a bit of a tangent, just thought I would shed some light on the some of the reasons behind this truly unsurprising but still disappointing outcome.

    • B1

      That should definitely read: “an inability to adapt and create”

    • Firstbass

      Thank you…a needed explanation for the absurdity of this situation.

    • FirstTimer

      As an another engineering graduate, I’d agree completely. Our engineers lack the ability to solve, and only memorize steps in a problem and their solutions.

  • JelloJuice

    I think many of us are hoping for a suspension of TransformUS, more transparency in the decision making and review (where’s the deficit???), and more than just lip service to the campus community. Our concerns are being heard, and then dropped from thought. This year was the only year in my 14 year tenure here that I have been absolutely ASHAMED of my University. I hope we can get our reputation back!!

    • FruitJuice

      Tenure with a small ‘t’ is one thing. Tenure with a large ‘T” is (a) archaic and has nothing to do with freedoms (b) unrealistic in today’s work, and (c) counter to performing at one’s best – Tenure is another term for ‘warehouse’ in some language…


    Dr. Buckingham was not a Dean. He was executive director of SPH.

  • poorpress

    FineDay’s quote is a joke. TransformUS held “town hall” meetings for the U of S community to come out and voice their opinions. The majority of which FineDay did not attend.

  • Martin

    Does anyone understand why this ghost town of a newspaper has a 1 month old story on their front page? Is the university just that boring or the sheaf just that lazy?

    • derpaderp

      The sheaf only publishes monthly during the summer I blieve.

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