Friday, May 11, 2018

Faculty Governor By-election

Voting will begin for the position of a replacement faculty governor on May 14, 2018. UBC-V faculty will have an opportunity to select one person out of the field of however many candidates there might be.

UBC is at a critical juncture.  We are emerging from a series of governance related missteps: the forced resignation of President Gupta, mishandling of a series of sexual harassment allegations (including the public dismissal of a faculty member), an egregious interference into a business faculty's academic freedom, and the list seems to go on.  We seem to have reached a turning point with important advances, such as President Ono's apology for UBC's complicity in residential schools and the Board of Governor's setting up a special committee to advance aboriginal engagement on campus. We also see potential improvements in the internal governance of the board emerging. As with all critical junctures the path forward is not preordained.

Faculty governors can play a significant role in shaping the outcomes of such moments. During the Gupta affair our faculty colleagues on the board appeared to sit back and do nothing but go along. Becuase they operated under a veil of silence we may never know if they acted appropriately, but clearly it is widely believed they, and the entire inner circle of the board, did not.

We are at a juncture point where we need a colleague widely know for the courage of their convictions. We need a senior colleague who has local, national, and international standing to be elected to the board. We need a colleague who understands, through their own experience of life, that respecting diversity means action in practice, not tokenism.  We need a colleague who has done more than simply grow their own 'leadership' skills in dean's offices or highly ranked labs. We need a genuine, hard working, experienced colleague filled with compassion and motivated by passion.

I know there is at least one such person who has put their name forward. I will be voting for them and I urge that colleagues do the same.