CUFA BC and CAUT Call on Minister Wilkinson to Investigate James Moore Appointment

Created 2 February 2016 11:02

(Vancouver – February 2, 2016) After carefully examining the University Act governing the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) are calling on Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson to investigate the appointment of James Moore as Chancellor of UNBC. The University Act calls for meaningful consultation with Senate prior to the appointment of a Chancellor. This did not happen in this instance and UNBC is in clear violation of the Act.

“In our analysis of the University Act it is clear that UNBC has violated the Act in not properly consulting with Senate on the appointment of its new Chancellor, James Moore. We are calling on Minister Andrew Wilkinson to intervene and investigate,” said Doug Baer, President of CUFA BC.

Moore, a former Conservative cabinet minister, has created a firestorm of controversy on campus amongst many faculty. The Faculty Association has called on the University to rescind the appointment and a petition has been circulated by faculty calling for his ouster.

“The substantive concern about Moore is his leadership role in a government that was antithetical to the values of science, evidence based public policy, and academic freedom,” said David Robinson, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers. “Our process oriented concern is that the University Act is being flouted to rush the appointment of individuals friendly to the Liberal government,” continued Robinson.

“The appointment of Boards of Governors in British Columbia is a uniquely politicized process, with the Liberal government directly appointing a majority of governors,” said Baer. “We see Moore’s appointment as part of a failed model of governance at BC universities that values political connections over meaningful commitments to the values of scholarship and academic inquiry.”

The controversy at UNBC comes on the heels of the evolving governance crisis at the University of British Columbia over the sudden departure of former President Arvind Gupta.

“It is time for Minister Wilkinson to exercise some leadership at this key moment in the history of governance at BC universities,” continued Baer. “The BC government controls the appointment process and it is time for some accountability to accompany that responsibility. If he is too close to the appointment process itself at UNBC he should appointment an arms length investigator to ensure that this process meets the criteria set out in the act,” Baer concluded.

For further information contact: Michael Conlon, Executive Director, 604-646-4677 (o), 778-994-2616 (c). The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia represents over 5,400 professors, lecturers, instructors, and librarians at the five research intensive universities in British Columbia — University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, University of Victoria, Royal Roads University, and Simon Fraser University.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of over 68,000 academic and general staff at more than 100 universities across Canada. For more information contact David Robinson, 604-822-2270 (o), or 613-282-2451 (c).