{Published by the University of Waterloo administration on its website until 1998, during the period when the 1990 version of Policy 33 was in force; published since July 2003 by Kenneth Westhues, Professor of Sociology, University of Waterloo, as part of the Documentary History of the UW Ethics Committee, 1982-1998.)


The President's Mandate for the committee listed recent problems, in response to which the committee has made changes in the Ethics Policy and indicated linkages with other policies in which ethical considerations arise (Appendix C).
The President's Mandate also raised the question of a "Code of Ethics" ("in the light of the proposed code drafted by the Faculty Association").

The Faculty Association has not proposed a Code of Ethics. The term has been used to describe a statement drafted by a committee of the Association and published as a basis for discussion in the Forum. Some members of the Faculty Association reject the word "code", however, as an expression of the aim of the Association in this area; they are aware, no doubt, of a long history of codes as the instruments of authority or as the means of imposing the requirements of superiors upon inferiors in hierarchically-ordered relationships. What the Faculty Association has been commending is therefore not well described as a code. What it has been commending is an attempt on the part of university people to make explicit, in a fully participatory and democratic way, the moral and intellectual commitments which are intrinsic to the proper functioning of the University.

Such an attempt might take the form of an Ethics Policy. It is certainly relevant to the efforts of the present committee which, it will be observed, has articulated general principles seen as intrinsic to the proper functioning of the University and has then gone on to make specific recommendations in elaboration of those principles.

This statement is generally in support of amendments to Policy 33 that have been made by the present committee. In particular, it commends the declaration that the University is an autonomous community, implying as it does that the University has the right as well as the responsibility to make and articulate judgements about its own operations both internally and externally, that is, in regard to the University's relations with the wider community.
This statement records also a disagreement with the majority of the "ad hoc" committee. It is written to express the view that the Policy even as amended is too narrowly focused. The Policy is clearly intended to be an 'umbrella' statement linking and clarifying ethical judgements which appear in a variety of policies; the cited Addendum to the present revision shows this. However the revision, like the original policy, concentrates on stating expectations in personal and professional relationships within the University. It leaves unaddressed some major questions concerning the functioning of the University.

In addition to the commitments already stated in the Policy it should also, as a minimum,

i) commit those in any position of authority within the University to openness and accountability in the discharge of their duties,

ii) include a statement on research expressing the University's commitment to its traditional support of untied 'curiosity-driven' research and also its commitment to protect the academic freedom of its researchers at all levels when they co-operate in sponsored research, and

iii) commit the University as an institution to operate in an ecologically responsible manner.

Respectfully submitted,

Frank Thompson,
Religious Studies.


Text of Policy 33 | Appendix A | Appendix B



March 1996

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