Was #UBC Toope administration a failure? #ubcnews #caut #bced #highered

by Stephen Petrina on September 4, 2015

“So, it is time to look forward”…

The party line trotted out by administrators in times of crises is that we need to look forward– way into the future. “So, it is time to look forward,” President Piper advises.

Advising on UBC’s crisis of legitimacy, University of Alberta President emeritus Indira Samarasekera says the same: “It is September, return-to-school month, and a time to look forward rather than back.”

Despite the admins’ historiphobia, here at the University of British Columbia, we need to begin in the past and work forward to ask: Was the Toope administration a failed administration?

After all, we’ve seen this before in universities and faculties, and yes, even here at UBC. In this scenario, the departing or incumbent President or Dean creates and leaves a mess. The incumbent leaves but the mess remains, which often takes the form of insecure managers, central and middle, invested in the status quo and business as usual. The next President or Dean arrives, inherits the mess sowed by the previous, plays cautious with the existing managers for a while but gets frustrated. Takes steps to clean house. Push comes to shove, new admin fails. For the faculty members, staff and students, the mess remains.

We’ve seen this before and it is time to ask whether President Toope’s was a failed administration, which led to this current crisis precipitated by the resignation of President Gupta?

Of course, not all administrations and administrative innovations are successes. There are many failures along the way.

UBC says now is the time to speculate but now is also the time to ask and answer (to) tough questions.