06/03/2015 07:06 EDT | Updated 06/03/2016 05:59 EDT

Fired University of Saskatchewan president names premier as defendant in lawsuit

SASKATOON - A former president of the University of Saskatchewan has filed a lawsuit over her dismissal, and the university says it will "vigorously" defend itself.

The lawyer for Ilene Busch-Vishniac says a statement of claim was filed Wednesday at Saskatoon Court of Queen' s Bench.

The suit alleges Premier Brad Wall, former Advanced Education minister Rob Norris and university board members all played roles in her termination in May 2014.

Busch-Vishniac was fired after tenured professor and dean Robert Buckingham was fired for publicly complaining about a plan to save the university about $25 million that included job cuts, reorganizing administration and dissolving some programs.

Buckingham was rehired, but then provost Brett Fairbairn tendered his resignation.

Busch-Vishniac's lawyer alleges Wall and Norris unlawfully interfered with the university's board and that the board did not follow protocol when it called an emergency meeting last May during which members decided to fire her without cause.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Greg Smith, chairman of the university's board, says it has fully complied with its legal obligations toward the former president and has acted prudently in the governance of the institution.

He says when her presidency was ended, the university offered her a payment of 18 months salary in compensation and a tenured faculty position as agreed to in her contract with the university, and she accepted.