Update on holding administration accountable for the events of May 11

We've heard this week from many NASA members who have expressed concern and anger about the decision by university leadership to call in Edmonton Police Service (EPS) officers to forcibly remove peaceful protesters from the Main Quad on May 11.

On May 13, NASA and our fellow campus unions—the Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA), the University of Alberta Students' Union (UASU), and the Graduate Students' Association (GSA)—sent a joint letter to President Flanagan outlining our concerns with the decision and requesting an emergency meeting.

In response to this joint letter, we met on May 15 with President Bill Flanagan, Verna Yiu, Melissa Padfield and Todd Gilchrist. NASA President Quinn Benders and the other union representatives addressed numerous concerns brought forward by our respective members in light of the violent encampment removal.

The meeting began with clarifying questions about how and why EPS was called in to remove the encampment. However, significant discrepancies between administration’s account of the events and the protestor’s accounts remain. University administration confirmed that there are currently no restrictions and no ban from campus on any of the students, staff, faculty, or alumni who participated in the protest. 

Our requests to administration outlined at the meeting included the following:

  • That university leadership apologize to their university community for creating an unsafe situation for peaceful protesters.
  • That university leadership reaffirm a commitment to Charter rights and academic freedom.
  • That the University of Alberta supports a thorough investigation by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).
  • That the University of Alberta also commit to a thorough third-party independent investigation to assess the decisions, statements, and actions made by university officials.

At the meeting, we requested that university leadership respond to our questions and recommendations with a written response, and we have requested a follow-up meeting on May 22 to discuss how our concerns will be addressed.

NASA and our sister unions will continue joint efforts to ensure there is accountability for the administration actions and that there is transparency about how this situation was handled.