Rights tribunal to hear UBC prof’s racial discrimination complaint

by E Wayne Ross on February 16, 2012

Vancouver Sun: Rights tribunal to hear UBC prof’s racial discrimination complaint

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has agreed to hear the case of a University of B.C. professor who claims she was passed over for a research chair position because of her race.

Jennifer Chan, an associate professor in the faculty of education at UBC, filed a complaint alleging that the university and four administrators discriminated against her with respect to the appointment of the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education in 2009. UBC denies any such discrimination took place and applied to have the complaint dismissed.

In her submission, Chan argues that she was better qualified for the position than the successful applicant and points out that only one member of the selection committee was a visible minority. She also alleges systemic discrimination which she claims is evidenced by being “forgotten” in her tenure and promotion schedule and the fact that visible minorities are almost entirely absent from leadership positions. Chan, who is of Chinese descent and immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 2001, was the only visible minority candidate to be shortlisted for the position.