The report of Dr. Shirley Katz into the employment experience of the late Dr. Deepa Khosla was released by Memorial University Nov. 9. The report, which also examined Memorial's policies, procedures and practices on harassment and its working and learning climate for women, was released during a briefing of the university community by Dr. Axel Meisen, Memorial’s president. (For more information on the matter, see www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/katz_report.php).
The report from Dr. Katz was received in August and Dr. Meisen met with the university community in September to provide a briefing on her findings and recommendations. However, the president was prevented from releasing the report at that time because of privacy law considerations. The report has since been reviewed by an independent expert, Brian Bowman, a lawyer with Pitblado L.L.P. in Winnipeg. Mr. Bowman was asked to review the report for the purpose of redacting (i.e., severing) information that must be protected under privacy law. That work has been completed and the resulting redacted report was released today. (The report is available for viewing at www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/Katz_Report_Public_Disclosure.pdf).
“The university must obey the law as it relates to privacy issues, and the report we are releasing today contains all the information that the independent expert has determined can be released legally,” said Dr. Meisen. “Portions of the original report contained considerable personal and private information which had to be redacted. The expert, Mr. Bowman, has also provided the context for his redacting decisions and they are contained in the report.”
The university also released Mr. Bowman’s letter of transmittal which outlines the challenges he faced in redacting the original report and the laws he applied to the task (see www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/Katz_Report_Public_Disclosure_Letter.pdf).
“When we started this process, I committed to releasing as much of the report as was possible, given privacy considerations, and I am confident we have achieved that goal,” Dr. Meisen said. “In spite of the redacting, the basis for Dr. Katz’s findings and recommendations is clear. The challenge now is to continue our progress on the 12 recommendations made by Dr. Katz.”
Those measures were outlined in a memorandum from Dr. Meisen to the university community (for full text of the memo see www.mun.ca/marcomm/home/Memo_from_Dr_Meisen_Katz_followup.pdf).
The president has invited members of the university community to serve on actions groups to follow up on each of the 12 recommendations in Dr. Katz’s report. The action groups consist of senior university officials, faculty, staff and students.
“We are making progress on all these matters,” said Dr. Meisen. “The action groups have delivered preliminary reports regarding their work plans, as requested, and have started working on the interim reports, which I expect to receive before the end of the calendar year in most cases. We are determined and committed to ensuring that we maintain an equitable, safe and secure working and learning environment for all.”
Dr. Meisen committed to reporting back to the university community on the progress on a periodic basis.