#UBC donor sounds off on President’s resignation #caut #bced #highered #ubcnews

by Stephen Petrina on September 3, 2015

Justin McElroy, Global News, August 28, 2015–  Allen Eaves is not one to cause a public fuss.

The founder and CEO of STEMCELL, Canada’s largest biotech company, and the founding Director of the Terry Fox Laboratory for Hematology, Eaves has long been an influential figure at the intersection of private research and public universities that has fueled scientific innovation in Canada.

Like many high-level scientists affiliated with universities, he’s generally content to do research, give donations, and create opportunities for young graduates.

But now, in the wake of the continuing controversy at the University of British Columbia, Eaves is speaking out.

He wants people to know that something is not quite right in the sudden resignation of former President Arvind Gupta, just one year into his five-year term.

“The word resignation has many meanings, and I would say this is not your typical leaving. I got the impression he was surprised. Just by the way he talked [to me],” said Eaves.

The University of British Columbia has said a non-disclosure agreement signed by them and Gupta, prior to his resignation, prevents them from discussing the terms of his abrupt departure that was agreed upon at the end of July and made public three weeks ago.

“He was just getting going. He was coming out with this long-term plan and ready to take some actions, and disappointed that he can’t,” says Eaves, who was chair of Mitacs, the research organization Gupta led prior to becoming President, from 2001 to 2011.

While Gupta’s resignation was shocking, it created only a minor stir outside the university community.

However, the crisis deepened after Jennifer Berdahl, a professor of Gender and Diversity at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, claimed that university authorities, including Chair of the Board of Governors John Montalbano, tried to intimidate and silence her for publicly suggesting Gupta may have lost a “masculinity contest.”

That led to an attempted secret meeting of the Board of Governors discovered by media, Montalbano attempting to leave the meeting privately, a pushback by Montalbano he had done nothing wrong, an escalation of the dispute between the Faculty Association and the Board of Governors, and finally, the announcement this week that Montalbano would temporarily step aside as Chair so the entire ordeal could be investigated.

Read More: Global News