#UBC admin again dodges accountability in report on privacy breach @ubcnews #ubcnews #ubc100 #bced #highered

by Stephen Petrina on March 21, 2016

Yet another “investigation” into administrative mismanagement at the University of British Columbia has failed to find any facts related to leadership. Today’s report on the investigation into the “privacy breach” or leak of records related to President Gupta’s resignation fails to find accountability at the top of the Office of the University Counsel. From within this Office was an inadvertent leak of records supplementing UBC’s official disclosure.

Made aware of the “privacy breach,” on 27 January VP External Relations Philip Steencamp and University Counsel Hubert Lai announced that they would “immediately launch an independent investigation into how the material became public.”

Well, here is how, kind of, not really, not at all, nothing

Already on 28 January, Steencamp and Lai were back-pedalling: “UBC deeply regrets the error that led to this privacy breach…. To that end, UBC has retained an external expert to review its disclosure practices and provide recommendations.”

So, was there an investigation or just a review?

The Smith Report on breaches of academic freedom UBC following the announcement of Gupta’s resignation cost the University about $78k.

Now, UBC likely paid about $25k for a legal consultant to give instructions to University Counsel on embedding files in a PDF and on how to protect and redact a record.

So taking the Review of UBC’s Processing of Freedom of Information Requests as an investigation report, UBC is now 0/3 in finding facts of accountability in its recent reports.

The first was the Fact Finding Report: Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) FROSH CHANTS. The second was the Summary of the fact-finding process and conclusions regarding alleged breaches of academic freedom and other university policies at the University of British Columbia.

The only fact is that UBC has been increasingly reluctant to find any form of accountability with its senior and middle managers.

Since August and the announcement of President Gupta’s resignation, avoidance of accountability has grown progressively worse.

Avoidance of accountability is now UBC’s greatest liability.

At the same time, faculty members’ access to information regarding the budget and governance on campus is increasingly blocked and ridden with obstacles. Denied access to basic files and information, including budgets, faculty members are now forced to submit Freedom of Information requests.

And with that said, Information and Privacy within the Office of the University Counsel is swamped and overburdened, understaffed and unable to provide timely access to records.

Wary of corruption and cronyism, on 22 October, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC released a scathing report of the practice of withdrawing decision-making to shadow systems. In Access Denied, Denham begins:

Democracy depends on accountable government. Citizens have the right to know how their government works and how decisions are made.

This holds for UBC, by the University Act a corporation bound to accountability to its members: faculty, staff, students.