September 15, 2000

Press Release

Chun Case has been "Extraordinarily Difficult" for University, Faculty

Following are the minutes from U of T President Robert Birgeneau's report on the agreement to the Governing Council, September 14, 2000

"As his last item of business, the President noted that he was very pleased to report on the recent settlement between the University of Toronto and former research associate Dr. Kin-Yip Chun. Reached the previous week, the agreement provided that Dr. Chun would be able to resume his career as a research scientist and adjunct professor in the University's Department of Physics. A press release outlining the highlights of the settlement had been distributed to members of the Governing Council on September 8, 2000.

"The President noted that Dr. Chun's appointment as a research scientist was for a five-year term and had been made pursuant to the University's Policy, Procedures & Terms and Conditions of Appointment for Research Associates (Limited Term) and Senior Research Associates. It was not a tenure-stream appointment. The President continued that the appointment would be reviewed after four years to determine whether Dr. Chun had successfully re-established his research and was publishing at a rate comparable to that earlier in his career. These arrangements were not new. They resulted from the recommendations of the Yip Report, commissioned by the University in 1994 following Dr. Chun's initial allegations against the University. The Report had correctly concluded that Dr. Chun was not the victim of racism by the University of Toronto. Rather, the investigation had found evidence that Dr. Chun had been exploited in his work at the University and, therefore, a resolution had been sought. The conclusions of the university's investigation had been confirmed in July 2000 by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which had decided not to refer Dr. Chun's complaint against the University to a board of inquiry because there was no evidence of racism.

"The President explained that, for the past six years the University had been attempting to find a resolution to the long-standing dispute. The agreement reached was consistent with the principles of previous offers made to Dr. Chun, which had been declined. Following the Ontario Human Rights Commission's decision, the University had made relatively modest changes to its previous offers, principally with respect to ensuring a reasonable time period for the establishment of Dr. Chun's research program. A condition of the settlement was that Dr. Chun drop his appeal against the Ontario Human Rights Commission as well as his $1-million lawsuit against the University. The President emphasized that in so doing, Dr. Chun had withdrawn his allegations of racism against the University. These allegations had been completely unacceptable.

"In conclusion, the President stated that this lengthy dispute had been extraordinarily difficult for all the parties involved, particularly for members of the Department of Physics. He cited a very moving letter that he had received earlier in the day from the spouse of a faculty member who had noted what a painful situation it was for the family. The adverse impact on the individual's family members had been significantly hurtful.

The President said that the matter had now been resolved and that there remained no accusations against the University or individual faculty members. The University's job now was to assist members of the Department of Physics and Dr. Chun in the healing process and in the implementation of the agreement. The President reiterated that he and the senior members of the administration would do everything possible to help the Department."


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