CUFA BC Calls on UNBC to Rescind Moore’s Appointment as Chancellor

Created 8 December 2015 15:12

CUFA BC Calls on UNBC and Ministry of Advanced Education to Rescind James Moore’s Appointment as Chancellor

(Vancouver – December 3, 2015) The Confederation of University Faculty Association of British Columbia (CUFA BC) calls on the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Ministry of Advanced Education to rescind the appointment of former Conservative Member of Parliament James Moore as Chancellor of UNBC.

Moore was appointed on November 28 after a perfunctory consultation with the UNBC Senate. The Faculty Association at UNBC has been vocal in its criticism of Moore’s appointment.

“Our members stand with UNBC faculty in questioning this odd appointment. It is not clear what Moore brings to UNBC beyond the fact that he graduated from the institution” said Doug Baer, President of CUFA BC. “It is very curious that the UNBC Board of Governors has chosen to appoint someone who served in a Cabinet whose primary contribution to science policy was to muzzle scientists and steer research funding toward favoured ideological projects. Moore and his Conservative Cabinet colleagues were brazen and unapologetic in their anti-intellectual rhetoric” continued Baer.

According to UNBC’s website the role of the Chancellor is defined as “a senior representative of the University, and distinguishing the University by his/her reputation as an outstanding leader in British Columbia and in Canada.”

During his time as Minister of Industry Canada Moore consistently redirected funding away from basic, fundamental research and towards research projects more in line with the ideology of the Conservative government. As Heritage Minister Moore also presided over massive cuts to Canada’s public arts institutions and undermined the autonomy and effectiveness of the National Archives and the National Library of Canada. Moore was also a vocal supporter of the cancellation of the long form census.

“During his eight years as a member of the Harper government Moore supported a variety of policies that were a direct attack on the work of academics and the integrity of scholarship and evidence based public policy. Moore’s only research credentials are negative and he seems to have a very poor understanding of the wider social contribution of universities” said Baer. “It is also unclear how this appointment will serve UNBC. Moore was one of the most strident and confrontational critics of the Liberal party and Justin Trudeau in particular. Moore has stood squarely opposed to almost every single new science and research initiative promised by the recently elected federal Liberal government. UNBC should be working to achieve the best possible relations with all levels of government. This appears to be a step in the wrong direction” argued Baer.

“The Government of British Columbia needs to address the crisis in governance at our institutions and stop playing politics with the appointment process at British Columbia’s research universities” concluded Baer. CUFA BC has attempted to meet with the Minister to discuss Board governance issues and the politicized nature of nature of Board appointments in BC. However, Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson has thus far rebuffed multiple invitations for a meeting.

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.