When Universities Defy the Law: Eaton v. UofR

Why won't the University of Regina comply with the Freedom of Information Act? What are they hiding?

UPDATE (October 18, 2019): 

We finally have a new court date for February 26 at 10am.  My lawyer informs me that I need to raise a lot more money so I've adjusted my gofundme goal once again and will be trying to raise another 12k by the end of February.


Read the Regina Leader Post's coverage 

In November of 2017 I filed a freedom of Information request for my research into the influence of fossil fuel industries on public education.

For each research project involving “oil, gas, coal, carbon capture, climate change, alternative energy and petroleum” between 2006 and 2017, I asked for four pieces of information: the dollar amount of the funding, the funding agency/company awarding the money, the title of the research project and the faculty, department or school that received the funding.

After the University of Regina denied me access to the funding agency/company and the unit receiving the funding I appealed this non-disclosure to Saskatchewan's Information and Privacy Officer, Ronald Kruzeniski.

He issued a final report on Nov. 28, 2018 (view the report here), recommending that the University release all the information I requested. But the UofR has refused to release the information, appealing to academic freedom and arguing that the release of this information would have a "chilling effect" on research.

In fact, academic freedom is meant to protect us when we engage with the public (through our teaching, research and service), not to shield the university from the public.

Fighting this in court is a poor use of the University's scarce resources, especially given that the expert in the legislation has already ruled that the information should be released to the public.

My lawyer informs me that typical appeals of this nature costs between $8-10k. I am seeking help to cover the legal costs of this appeal.

If you  believe in academic freedom and the transparency of Universities, please consider donating. Many thanks for your attention and support,

Emily Eaton
Associate Professor
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
University of Regina (Treaty 4 territory)

Photo by Brandon Harder/Regina Leader-Post. Used with permission by the Regina Leader-Post.

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Emily Eaton 
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Regina, SK
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