Report of the Independent Committee of Inquiry into Alleged Discrimination against Dr. Kin-Yip Chun at the University of Toronto

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Press Release

About the Case

The Independent Committee of Inquiry was appointed in June 2003, at the instigation of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), to investigate allegations of discrimination against Dr. Kin-Yip Chun at the University of Toronto. After being turned down on two occasions for a permanent position with the Department of Physics, Dr. Chun began to express concerns about unequal treatment. His relationship with the department continued to deteriorate after unsuccessful third and fourth competitions. Dr. Chun alleged that he had been improperly denied a permanent academic position because of his race and that he had been the victim of harassment and discrimination. The Independent Committee of Inquiry was asked to investigate these allegations and to determine whether there were breaches of or threats to academic freedom, and whether there were violations of Dr. Chun’s human rights.

About the Members of the Committee

Professor Constance Backhouse, B.A., LL.B., LL.M. LL.D. (hon.), F.R.S.C. holds the positions of Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. She teaches in the areas of criminal law, human rights, legal history and women and the law. In 1999, she received the Bora Laskin Human Rights Fellowship. In 2006, she was awarded the Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship, and was named a Trudeau Fellow. She has published a number of books on legal history, including Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999), which was awarded the 2002 Joseph Brant Award. Her Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and the Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto: Women’s Press, 1991) was awarded the 1992 Willard Hurst Prize in American Legal History by the Law and Society Association.

Philip W. Anderson is the Joseph Henry Professor of Physics at Princeton University and a Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. From 1949 to 1984, he worked at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. He specialises in Theoretical Physics and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. In 1977, Professor Anderson and his co-researchers Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John van Vleck were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems, research that allowed for the development of computer switching and memory devices. In 1983, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. His publications include Notes on Theory of Magnetism (1954), Concepts in Solids (1963), Basic Notions of Condensed Matter Physics (1984), A Career in Theoretical Physics (1994), and The Theory of Superconductivity in the High Temperature Cuprates (1997).

William Black is Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia. He specializes in constitutional law and human rights law. In 1999 to 2000, he was a member of the Canadian Human Rights Act Review Panel, appointed by the federal Minister of Justice. In 1994, he was a special advisor to the B.C. Minister Responsible for Human Rights and published the Report on Human Rights in British Columbia. From 1989 to 1993, he was Director of the Human Rights, Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa, and earlier, he was a member of the B.C. Human Rights Commission. He is presently a member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Equity at the University of British Columbia.