Wheeldon, Prudence (Politics, Sociology & Anthropology)

Prudence Wheeldon received a B.A. with honours in Anthropology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1955. She then completed a postgraduate certificate in Education from the University of London via the University College of Rhodesia in 1958. She taught at the University College of Rhodesia for 6 years, but left Rhodesia after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence was issued in 1965. She was first appointed as an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in the Department of Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology (PSA) in 1967. 

Her area of research expertise was race relations, from urban organization of black Africans to mixed-race communities, in Rhodesia. Wheeldon was one of the eight PSA faculty members who went on strike against what they believed to be an oppressive institutional administration. Wheeldon’s dismissal hearings would have repercussions in the cases of her colleagues, and she took the University to court, arguing that it had violated procedure. A judge ruled that the University’s Academic Freedom and Tenure policy was a “good faith” statement and thus not a legally binding document. This ultimately resulted in President Ken Strand’s administrative decision that the power to fire or hire faculty rested solely in the SFU President and Board of Governors according to the Universities Act, and Wheeldon was dismissed. She never returned to university education, settling on the west coast’s Gulf Islands in the early seventies.

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