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Regina professor taking university to court over research funding info

Emily Eaton is researching possible influence of the fossil fuel sector on education in Saskatchewan

February 26, 2020  The Canadian Press

REGINA — A professor is taking the University of Regina to court to find out who’s funding research of oil and gas at the school.

Emily Eaton, who teaches in the university’s geography and environmental studies department, is researching possible influence of the fossil fuel sector on education in Saskatchewan.

Under freedom-of-information legislation, she requested the university disclose who is funding its research related to oil and gas, coal, carbon capture and climate change.

Eaton was denied her request, and her lawyer Dan LeBlanc is arguing that the university is a public institution and shouldn’t keep private information about research funding.

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The university’s lawyer has told a hearing that the school is withholding the information to protect the academic freedom of its professors.

Erin Kleisinger says releasing such confidential information could expose staff to backlash from interest groups and dissuade them from undertaking innovative research.

A judge has reserved her decision in the case.