Wilfred C. Lockhart (1906-1991) served as the Principal of United College in Winnipeg from 1955 to 1967, and subsequently served as the President of the University of Winnipeg until his retirement in 1971. Under his tenure the United College’s downtown campus underwent tremendous growth and transformation with the construction of several new buildings.
The Crowe Case (as it has become known) is one of the most significant events in the history of United College, and in the history of academic freedom in Canada. In March 1958, Lockhart anonymously received through the mail a letter that was addressed from Harry S. Crowe--a tenured history professor on academic leave--to his fellow United College professor William (Vilijo) Packer of the German department. Lockhart was deeply offended by the contents of the letter, which he viewed as highly disrespectful and disparaging of United College, its principles and many of its faculty. Lockhart sent a letter to Crowe stating that he had received and kept the letter and suggested that Crowe find employment elsewhere. Crowe, angry that Lockhart received, read and kept his private letter, refused to resign. Increasingly bitter and hostile negotiations between the College and Crowe began. Both Lockhart and Crowe gained detractors and supporters, and United College became extremely divided. The incident soon garnered massive amounts of attention, and not only from United College’s faculty, administration, and students—who signed petitions for both sides and picketed outside of the College for Crowe’s reinstatement--, but also garnered national attention from other universities, and extensive media coverage. The newly formed, and never tested, Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) was charged with investigating the matter. As the investigation wore on, Lockhart submitted a letter of resignation to the Board of Regents and explained in his letter that he felt he was unable to continue his post due to the constant “vicious, personal attacks” on his morals and character he had received during the Crowe Case. However, the Board did not accept his resignation, and the “Carry-on, Dr. Lockhart Committee” was formed and collected signed postcards sent from hundreds of Lockhart’s supporters. The Board of Regents fired Crowe in September 1958, and three professors (Reid, McNaught and Stingle) resigned in protest. The CAUT, however, concluded their investigation and recommended that Crowe be reinstated, but while Crowe was reinstated the three professors who had resigned were not. Ultimately, sixteen faculty members resigned from United College in protest, and the Crowe Case left a lasting impression on the College. The Crowe Case galvanized the newly formed Canadian Association of University Teachers, and marked the first time that university teachers nationally defended and investigated the academic freedom and tenure concerns of their colleague. It remains one of the most significant cases of academic freedom and tenure in Canada.
The papers have been arranged into five series, which include photographs; correspondence related to the Crowe Case; newspaper clippings on the Crowe Case; Lockhart’s incoming and outgoing correspondence about the Crowe Case; and Lockhart’s incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1961 to 1973, which relate to his work as principal. The first series is a photograph album, containing photographs and pamphlets from 1956 to c. 1963. These photographs relate to United College’s building fund in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which saw the construction of several new buildings on United College’s downtown campus. There are 18 photographs, mostly of campus buildings, including University College’s gym, Manitoba Hall, Riddell Hall, Ashdown Hall, Graham Hall, and Wesley Hall. As well as pictures of students in science labs and in the theatre, and unidentified and identified faculty of United College, including Professor Victor Leathers, Principal Lockhart, and Professor Eagle.
The second series includes correspondence related to the Crowe Case, and documents obtained by CAUT during their investigation, and are dated from 1954 to 1959. The series includes incoming and outgoing letters from Crowe, the Board of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the Board of Regents, various professors, Lockhart, law firms, students, and the United Church Observer. The content of the correspondence in the first folder of the series includes discussions on petitions from faculty and students, Crowe’s return to United College, Crowe’s termination, salary disputes, legal rights, Crowe’s claim that Lockhart illegally retained and photostated a private letter, The 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, CAUT, academic freedom, religious opinion, and protest resignations. The second folder contains a copy of Crowe’s original letter, the initial correspondence between Crowe and Lockhart, and the negotiations between Crowe and the Board. The third file contains correspondence between CAUT and the Board, meeting summaries and minutes on Crowe-Regent negotiations, and several statements from the parties involved, including students, faculty members, the Board, and Lockhart.
The third series contains photocopies of newspaper clippings covering the Crowe Case from November 1957 to October 1959.
The fourth series contains Lockhart’s incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1954 to 1959. The first folder contains incoming correspondence to Lockhart from July 1954 to May 1955, and mainly concerns his appointment as Principal of United College. The remaining files contain Lockhart’s incoming and outgoing correspondence from April 1958 to October 1959, and are almost exclusively letters supporting Lockhart in the Crowe Case, and as Principal.
The fifth series contains Lockhart’s incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1961 to 1973 and relates to his work as United College’s Principal. The correspondence includes letters of reference, condolence letters, investigation of student concerns, and student scholarships and financial aid.