The missing colleague

In the faculty copier- and mail-room on Kwantlen Polytechnic University‘s Richmond campus last semester, there was a small poster that read: “Where is Russel Ogden?” Ogden is a Kwantlen professor who has not taught at the university since 2008 yet who still receives a full-time salary. His research expertise is suicide. According to a recent Globe and Mail profile:

In 2005, the university’s research ethics board approved his proposal to attend assisted suicides.

But, he said by 2007, the university’s administration was starting to get nervous about his work, and in 2008 he signed an agreement with the university to begin a two-year “research leave” on Jan. 1, 2009.

He was unable to resume teaching in 2011, and he cannot discuss the reason because of the confidentiality agreement he signed the day before he was due to return.

John Lowman, an SFU criminology professor and expert on academic freedom, said Kwantlen’s actions “have implications for the academic freedom of every other researcher in this country.”

It is a baffling story.

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