#UBC FA questions FoI disclosure and calls for review of BoG #ubc100 #ubcnews #bced

by Stephen Petrina on January 28, 2016

The Faculty Association has levelled an extensive critique of senior management and governance of the University of British Columbia. The FAUBC begins:

Information that has come out from freedom of information requests, as well as Wednesday’s leak of documents, has justified our concern that the Board of Governors had acted via secret, in camera processes that do not meet the standards of best practices for public bodies in British Columbia. Worse, it is becoming apparent that such a lack of public accountability is the normal mode of operation for the UBC Board of Governors, and we are concerned that the actions of the Board may expose the University to charges of contravention of the University Act and provincial privacy and access to information laws….

It is alarming to us that the records supplied in response to a formal request under the Access to Information laws should be incomplete, and that University Counsel should be supplied with incomplete records. As such, this would appear to be a violation of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)….

What remains unknown about Board procedures is, we think, significant in the matter of Dr. Gupta’s resignation. Board procedures, more generally, appear not to be documented. Instead, they appear to be maintained as some form of “oral knowledge” managed by either the Board Secretary or the University Counsel, depending on the matter. This is at variance with best practices, and certainly inconsistent with a notion of open and transparent university governance….

Given the events that have unfolded thus far and the information that has been revealed, we believe it is time for an external review of the UBC Board and its practices. Such a review should be an open process that engages fully the faculty, students, staff, and alumni of the University of British Columbia.

Superb work on behalf of members of the University and the public good.