THE handling of the UBC President Arvind Gupta departure shows the UBC Board of Governors, a group dominated by B.C. Liberal government appointees, is operating in chaos, secrecy and conflict and putting the school’s reputation at risk, the NDP said on Thursday.
In September of 2014, shortly after Gupta began a five-year term as the new president, B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark said his appointment “is a great moment for UBC and for post-secondary education in British Columbia.” Just one year into that term, following a UBC Board of Governors meeting, Gupta departed under mysterious and controversial circumstances, said the NDP.
“Since Dr. Gupta’s mysterious parting of ways with UBC, the Board of Governors has attempted to meet clandestinely and silence faculty, letting the situation deteriorate into secrecy, conflict and chaos,” said NDP Advanced Education Spokesperson Kathy Corrigan. “While our institutions should be protecting academic freedom, the board has done the opposite, censuring faculty who speak out, forcing the faculty association to issue a vote of non-confidence in the board.
“This sort of chaos isn’t good for students, isn’t good for faculty, isn’t good for investment, and reflects very poorly on the B.C. Liberal government who appointed the board. The reputation of a leading institution is at stake.”
Many of the B.C. Liberal government appointed board members have very close ties to the B.C. Liberal party.
Corrigan said the only thing that will bring back stability and confidence is transparency, and a full accounting of what happened.
Instead, the board brought on yet another Liberal insider to attempt to clean up the optic mess, Judy Kirk, a former executive director of the B.C. Liberal caucus, she noted.