UBC Faculty Association and student society call for external review of Board of Governors; Momentum gathers among faculty for UBCBoG no-confidence vote
With UBC’s crisis of administration and legitimacy growing worse, the Faculty Association has re-issued its call for an external review of the Board of Governors and its operations. Clearly, there are failures of governance and shadow systems of decision-making from the ranks of middle management to the top of the Board. The FAUBC announced today:
As the collective voice of faculty, charged with representing faculty interests and perspectives relevant to unfolding events at UBC, the Faculty Association, through its Executive, feels compelled at this time to raise a number of serious concerns. It has become clear that the University of British Columbia is in the midst of a governance crisis.
The events of the past year or so, as information about them slowly leaks out, demonstrate a failure of governance that threatens the integrity and credibility of the University. This is a singular moment in the 100-year history of UBC, the solution to which requires strong actions on the part of the Board of Governors.
We have called publicly for an external review of the Board and its operations. At this point, we re-issue this call. Such a review is essential to restore public trust in the Board. To accomplish this, the leadership for such a review must have the support of the University community – of faculty, students, staff, and alumni….
Some current members of the Board, including the Chancellor of UBC, have been shown in recent, now public, documents to have been involved in activities around the resignation of Dr. Gupta that appear to contravene standard and expected Board practices. Improper conduct of Board business is a serious matter. The former Chair of the Board, John Montalbano, has resigned. What onus of response falls on these other Board members, given these revelations?
UBCFA has posed specific questions about UBC Board practices, which include:
- In the leaked documents from last week, we have seen several examples of secret meetings without any subsequent public documentation of these meetings. Does the Board’s current practice of holding some full Board and committee meetings without published meeting dates, agendas, and motions passed (and hence of decisions taken) meet the expectations for accountability and transparency for BC public bodies, and the obligations placed on the Board under the law?
- Has the Board been properly constituting and documenting all of its committees and their work? For example, a previously unknown ad hoc committee appears to have been created to manage the Board’s interactions with Dr. Gupta in the time leading to his resignation. Where is the documentation for the motions that created this committee? What processes were used, and what records kept of these processes? How many other such committees are there? Why is it necessary to keep the existence of any committee secret? Do all Board members know about each of the ad hoc committees? Is the Board operating in a way that meets all of its obligations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the general guidelines for public bodies? Is it lawful for secret committees to take actions that are not publicly recorded and not available for public scrutiny?
- Two related concerns pertain to patterns of email business conducted by Board members. First, why are all Board members not using a UBC email address for all of their Board work? Second, how does that Board ensure that the work of the Board is properly recorded and archived? For example, the University’s response to one of the Faculty Association’s Freedom of Information requests for the Chancellor’s email correspondence around a critical event claims that Mr. Gordon had no emails that were captured by this request. However, other individuals covered under this same request provided several email chains relating to the event that included multiple emails to and from Mr. Gordon. Why were Mr. Gordon’s emails, which were clearly about University business, not provided by Mr. Gordon as the law provides? How are Mr. Gordon’s emails about university business thus archived? More generally, do the email processes of the Board meet all legal obligations applicable to the Board and to UBC as a public institution?
In addition to the the UBCFA’s open letter to the UBC Board, momentum is gathering among faculty for a no-confidence vote on UBC Board. A rank and file group of university faculty members are currently mounting petition for a resolution to be presented to the UBC Faculty Association Executive Committee:
Whereas the UBC Board of Governors is required by law to act in the best interests of the University (BC University Act 19.2);
and whereas it has come to light that the Board has held secret, unannounced meetings of the Board, leaving no documentation of its activities;
and whereas Board members have formed secret ad hoc committees in which governance activities have been pursued without oversight and contrary to policy and procedural norms;
and whereas these committees and the Board have taken decisions or engaged in actions—such as declaring no confidence in the President with no formal review or input from faculty, declaring full confidence in the Chair after his role in interfering with a faculty member’s academic freedom, interpreting fiduciary duty to the university as pertaining to donors rather than its faculty, students, and staff—that are not obviously in the best interests of the University;
and whereas the Board has declined to explain such actions to the University community;
and whereas, consequently, we faculty members in good standing at UBC find that we cannot know—indeed, we have strong reason to doubt—that the Board has been operating in accordance with its legal obligations to the people of British Columbia;
therefore be it resolved that the Executive of the UBC Faculty Association, as soon as possible, bring a motion to its membership expressing no confidence in the UBC Board of Governors.
The UBC Alma Mater Society also publicly called for a review. The AMS urges the Board to enact the following changes:
- That the incoming Chair of the Board of Governors instigate an external review process into governance practices;
- That the Board of Governors delay approving any candidate proposed by the Presidential Search Committee until such time as the suggested external review is complete and incorporated.
UBC’s 100th year is turning into a year of memorial events, but it’s not the planned superficial PR.
CALL FOR PAPERS:
Special issue of Policy Futures in Education
Guest editor: Derek R. Ford, PhD
Although the person of Henri Lefebvre has been gone since 1991, the exploration of the implications of his thought for a variety of disciplines and social movements is still in its infancy. And it is likely to be a long life, as Lefebvre wrote over 60 books throughout his life, in addition to numerous articles, edited volumes, and lectures. Not only is the translation of his work into English still incomplete, but new manuscripts are still being discovered, Towards an Architecture of Enjoyment being the most recent.
Lefebvre’s thought has been most influential in geography and urban studies, animating key debates around, for example, the primary and secondary circuits of capital, industrialism versus urbanism, and spatial production more generally. It is primarily this body of secondary literature that has helped Lefebvre’s thought spread outward. Relatedly, his work on the right to the city has sparked a whole host of academic debates and policy formulations, and even some political coalitions. The growing importance of struggles over space in protest, social, and resistance movements across the globe has, to be sure, energized this interest.
Educational theory, research, and policy, however, have yet to engage with Lefebvre’s vast body of work in a sustained manner. There are just a handful of articles deeply engaging Lefebvre (e.g., Atasay and Delavan, 2012; Christie, 2013; Ford, 2013, in press; Taylor and Helfenbein, 2009) and one dedicated monograph (Middleton, 2013), although his work is referenced in and gestured toward quite a bit more often, primarily in sociology of education.
This special issue of Policy Futures in Education will be the first journal issue to focus specifically on Lefebvre’s thought and its import for educational theory, research, and policy. While authors need not be in the field of education proper, we seek submissions that represent sustained educational encounters with Lefebvre. Papers might examine Lefebvre’s work on everyday life and sociology, the state, rhythmanalysis, architecture, Marxism, dialectical materialism, Nietzsche, modernity, cities, space, or urbanism, and how this work relates to educational philosophies, practices, research, and policies. We are open to papers that explore Lefebvre’s relevance for education as well as papers that explore education’s relevance for Lefebvrean thought. If you are unsure if your topic will fit with the issue, please e-mail the editor for feedback.
An early expression of interest and a 200-300 word abstract is preferred by April 1st, 2016. Manuscripts—which should adhere to normal journal requirements—will be due October 1st, 2016. The expression of interest and abstract should be sent to email@example.com. Authors of successful expressions of interest/abstracts will be directed to submit full manuscripts at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/pfie.
About the guest editor:
Derek R. Ford is a teacher, organizer, and writer living in Philadelphia, PA, USA. He received his PhD in cultural foundations of education from Syracuse University in 2015. He has published several articles on Lefebvre and education and recently co-edited a special journal issue on education and the right to the city. His most recent books are Marx, capital, and education: Towards a critical pedagogy of becoming (with Curry Malott) and Leaders in critical pedagogy: Narratives for understanding and solidarity (with Brad Porfilio). His latest book, The secret and struggle of study: Political economy, alterity, pedagogy, will be published this year by Lexington Books.
Atasay, E., & Delavan, G. (2012). Monumentalizing Disaster and Wreak-construction: a case study of Haiti to rethink the privatization of public education. Journal of Education Policy, 27(4), 529-553.
Christie, P. (2013). Space, Place, and Social Justice: developing a rhythmanalysis of education in South Africa. Qualitative Inquiry, 19(10), 775-785.
Ford, D.R. (2013). Toward a Theory of the Educational Encounter: Gert Biesta’s educational theory and the right to the city. Critical Studies in Education, 54(3), 299-310.
Ford, D.R. (in press). A Pedagogy for Space: teaching, learning, and studying in the Baltimore Rebellion. Policy Futures in Education.
Middleton, S. (2013). Henri Lefebvre and Education: space, history, theory. London and New York: Routledge.
Taylor, H. L., & Helfenbein, R. J. (2009). Mapping Everyday: gender, Blackness, and discourse in urban contexts. Educational Studies, 45(3), 319-329.
UBC faculty are not generally a rowdy bunch, but there were a couple of hundred out today protesting the Board of Governors meeting and demanding UBC management and Board accountability.
UBC faculty, staff and students were protesting the UBC Board of Governors Meeting held on campus at the R. H. Lee Alumni Centre, and demanding a clean up of the Board and university administration, in particular that:
- the Board of Governors stops holding secret, undocumented meetings
- the Board honours its duty to operate in a transparent and accountable fashion
- an external review of its past practices takes place immediately.
For more background on the issues leading to this protest, see this letter from the Faculty Association of UBC, which details how the BoG has, among other things, held committee meetings that left no official record, and made decisions about personnel matters without formal assessments or performance reviews.
News coverage of protest:
The Province: ‘Secret’ board meetings prompt UBC protest
The Ubyssey: Protest disturbs Board of Governors meeting
Here are some photos and videos from today’s protest:
Call for Papers AVPC 2016
We are pleased to announce the Second Call for Papers for the first Association of Visual Pedagogies Conference AVPC 2016: Visual Pedagogies and Digital Cultures. The conference is hosted by the University of Applied Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 18-19 2016.
Peer reviewed conference articles will be published in The Video Journal of Education & Pedagogy (Springer) and a invited selection from the conference will be published as a special issue by conference organisers in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief, Michael A. Peters.
Please send an abstract of no more than 400 words to Petar Jandrić (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 February 2016.
Conference website: http://avpc.tvz.hr/
We look forward to meeting you in Zagreb!
Petar Jandrić, University of Applied Sciences, Croatia, Michael A. Peters, University of Waikato, New Zealand, Tina Besley, University of Waikato, New Zealand, Jayne White, University of Waikato, New Zealand, Kathrin Otrel-Cass, Aalborg University, Denmark, John O’Neill, Massey University, New Zeland, Milan Bajić, University of Applied Sciences, Croatia.