The Presidents of the three CUPE Locals at UBC issued a joint letter to the UBC Board of Governors Chair, John Montalbano, demanding greater transparency surrounding the situation that led to the Board’s recent announcement about the resignation of UBC’s President Arvind Gupta. We believe that as a publicly funded entity, the public has a right to know why the President of UBC resigned 13 months into a 5 year contract. The search process (estimated to have cost about $430,000 according to internal sources), contractual payouts, interim presidential salary and the hiring of PR firm Kirk and Co to handle the media fallout from this situation (and related issue of alleged violations of Academic Freedom- see below) are hugely expensive in a period of supposed austerity. As tax payers and tuition payers, we feel we are owed a more substantial explanation from the Board and an end to the rampant speculation that is both embarrassing and demoralizing for those who live and work at UBC.
Read our full letter here: CUPE @ UBC letter
On the Academic Freedom piece of this controversy (see links below), we believe it is vitally important that UBC be a place where students and faculty can research freely without fear of punitive action by the administration or government hushing critical opinions. As such we look forward to the University’s transparent and thorough inquiry into this situation. In the mean time, here are some important readings on the subject that help frame our understanding of the situation.
Jennifer Berdahl, UBC Profesor in the Sauder School of Business
Reactions from the UBC Faculty Association and UBC BoG
August 18: Montalbano speaks in his own defense
August 18: UBCFA Correspondence to Angela Redish, Acting President and Vice-Chancellor, Provost & Vice-President Academic pro tem
August 18: Media Statement from the Chair of UBC, John Montalbano
August 17: Link to UBCFA Notice from the Executive to the Membership, August 17, 2015
August 14: Read the response to the UBCFA’s concerns from UBC’s Board of Governors here.
August 10: In reaction to President Arvind Gupta’s sudden resignation, UBCFA President Mark Mac Lean sent a letter to all of our members on August 10th. View the UBCFA’s correspondence by following this link.