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1950: Board statute, prohibiting faculty from running for provincial or federal office, lifted

Larger Version

Until 1950, in an effort to keep the University “free from party politics”, faculty members at the University of Saskatchewan were prohibited from running for federal or provincial office.  The first set of university regulations appear to have been approved by the Board of Governors in 1912, including: “No Professor or Assistant Professor shall become a candidate for a seat in the Provincial Legislature or Dominion House of Commons.”1   This was clearly important to President Walter Murray, who wrote to a Progressive MLA in 1909:

Our determination is to keep the University free from party politics, and to make it as useful to the province as we possibly can.  I think that we can succeed fairly well in both respects.  In the internal management up to the present time we have been successful in evading the dangers of the system of patronage....  The University is too important an institution to be made a political foot-ball.2

In 1950, apparently without controversy, this regulation was removed by the Board of Governors.  (The minutes merely record that the following motion passed: “That Regulation No. 13 of the Board of Governors be removed.”)3   The right to political leave for faculty members was instituted by the mid 1960s.4   U of S professors who have successfully sought federal or provincial office have included Chris Axworthy (Law; Centre for the Study of Cooperatives; federal MP and provincial cabinet minister), Grant Devine (Agricultural Economics; Premier of Saskatchewan), Otto Lang (Law; federal cabinet minister), Janice MacKinnon (History; provincial cabinet minister), and John Richards (Economics; provincial MLA).  One can only speculate about faculty members who might have run for office if not for the regulation prohibiting it.  Carlyle King, who caused a furor in 1938 with a series of public speeches and was active in the CCF, may well have been one such candidate.


1950a. Premier Grant Devine drives a team of Clydesdales at the sod turning for the Agriculture Building. Photograph Collection, A-8278.
1950b,c. Before and after: Otto Lang as Dean of Law in 1962; and opening SED Systems as Minister of Transport in 1976. Lang was first elected to the House of Commons in 1968. Photograph Collection, A-1776 and A-8872.


1. University Publications Collection, Board of Governors regulations. (1912 regulations are in a bound volume entitled “Statutes of the University”.)
2. President’s Office fonds, RG 2001, Series I, file A24.
3. Board of Governors Minutes, 1950.
4. University Publications Collection, Faculty Association , faculty handbooks and collective agreements.

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