Open letter from Sauder Business School discouraging faculty to vote for no-confidence motion
The following letter has been circulating in the UBC Sauder School of Business — signed by many faculty and senior admins including Associate Deans— strongly urging their faculty and teaching staff to vote against the motion of no-confidence in the BoG (all emphases below are mine).
This letter is so ridiculous and it is so far removed from the actual crisis unfolding at UBC, I will not comment on it and let you read it for youself. Enjoy!
Open Letter to the UBC Community
March 24, 2016.
After a tumultuous year for the leadership of our university, some members of the UBC Faculty Association have proposed a motion of no confidence in the UBC Board of Governors. We, the faculty members listed below, strongly encourage all UBC faculty members to vote against this motion.
There are several reasons why a “no” vote — a vote against the motion — is best for the university community at all levels.
First, it is important to recall that UBC is one of the world’s leading public universities and has, by any reasonable measure, been extraordinarily successful in achieving its mission, including during the presidential terms of Martha Piper and Stephen Toope. That success is due to many people — students, faculty, staff and others. The Board has played an important leadership and consultative role in the process leading to that success. In our view, the tumult of the last year calls for greater unity across campus, not more division.
Second, the Board is composed of extremely dedicated and accomplished individuals from within the University and beyond who give their time generously from a desire to “give back” to the community. They do not get paid and receive no financial benefit from serving on the Board. Their only reward is the satisfaction of contributing to UBC’s educational and social mission, and they have contributed very effectively. To quote an unknown sage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The Board as an institution is not “broken” and the Faculty Association should not be trying to tear it down.
Third, a vote of no confidence would be very damaging to the University at this stage. It is damaging to morale, to public perceptions of the University, and to the spirit of cooperation and collegiality that has characterized UBC’s outstanding performance over the past several decades. Of most immediate significance, however, is the possibility that a vote of no confidence could delay or otherwise interfere with the search for a new President. The University needs to find a new President who can then make appointments to the other leadership positions in the University administration that are currently filled on an acting or temporary basis. The people currently filling those roles are performing admirably but obviously the temporary and uncertain nature of the current situation is a handicap to their success, as well as a source of anxiety to many members of the community.
The resignation of President Arvind Gupta and the events flowing from it are the source of much of the concern underlying the motion. Those issues, including the Board’s legal inability to fully explain its actions due to confidentiality requirements intended, we believe, to protect President Gupta, have been widely debated elsewhere and we will not revisit them here. However, it is important to recognize that in choosing to accept President’s Gupta’s resignation and in its general oversight of the President’s Office, the Board (including elected faculty, staff, and student representatives) was doing the job it is required to do by BC’s University Act. We believe it has done that job effectively under difficult circumstances.
We would strongly encourage everyone to vote. One major concern we have about the process so far is that it has been driven by a relatively small number of people. Only a small fraction of UBC faculty members voted on the Faculty Association’s confidence question about the Presidential Search Committee, a smaller fraction signed the petition calling for a motion of no confidence in the Board, and a very small fraction actually attended the meeting to discuss the motion. The vast majority of faculty members have chosen to stay above the fray. However, at this stage, staying above the fray is potentially very costly to the University. Please vote, and please vote against the motion.
Note: The people listed above have all indicated by email their desire to be signatories to this letter.
The letter has been leaked online and am sharing it here for the benefit of everyone. The original author sending this email with the letter stated “As this is an open letter, anyone receiving this message is of course at liberty to send it to other members of the UBC community who they think would be suitable recipients.”. Thank you.