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October 28, 2017 12:18 am

UNBC Board of Governors split vote on James Moore becoming chancellor

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 3:44 AM

By Peter Ewart

On February 6, 2016, UNBC Board of Governors chair Ryan Matheson issued a letter to UNBC faculty, staff and students justifying why James Moore should become Chancellor of the university and claiming that the Board “feels he meets the criteria” (1). 

But is it really accurate to imply that the entire Board “feels he meets the criteria”?  In his letter, Matheson has left out a glaring fact.  The UNBC Board appears to have been deeply split over the Moore appointment.

At a closed meeting on November 16, 2015, the Board voted on the appointment.  According to a copy of the heavily redacted minutes of the meeting, the members of the Board included 14 individuals.  With virtually all other information redacted, the final motion: 2015BIC.11.16.01 states: “That the UNBC Board of Governors appoint Mr. James Moore to the position of Chancellor, at the University of Northern British Columbia, commencing May 1, 2016, for a three year term” (2). 

But what was the actual vote at this meeting? According to the minutes, the motion “carried” with 6 opposed and 1 abstention.  Given that the membership listed on the minutes included only 14 names,  just half (7) of the Board members must have felt  that Moore met “the criteria,” while the other half disagreed or abstained.

Unfortunately, those redacting the documents chose to black out the parts that appear to deal with Board members’ discussion and views on the issue.   What does become clear though is that the Moore nomination appears far from a consensus decision at even the highest level of the university.

So how do things line up at UNBC regarding this controversial appointment?  For its part, the UNBC Faculty Association has expressed strong concerns about the appointment, and both undergraduate and graduate students overwhelmingly voted against it.  In addition, the University Senate passed a motion criticizing the Board of Governors for failing to consult the Senate “effectively and sufficiently.”

Most recently, the Confederation of University Faculty Associations (CUFA BC) and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) have spoken out about what they consider to be a failed appointment process (3).

Now we know that the Board of Governors itself was deeply split.  All of this brings into question why Moore was nominated in the first place, as well as what appears to be a botched, undemocratic nomination process.

Choosing a chancellor should result in the bringing together of the different sectors of the university community.  Instead, in this case, we have the opposite – deep division, mistrust, and acrimony (4).

For that, the responsibility lies with the highest levels of UNBC administration and governance which, despite the damage to the university and deep opposition even within its own ranks, have persisted in pushing this controversial appointment through.

Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia.  He can be reached at: peter.ewart@shaw.ca

  1. Fry, Greg.  “Board of Governors Chair defends Moore appointment.  250 News.  February 6, 2016.  2016/02/06/board-of-governors-chair-defends-moore-appointment/
  2. “UNBC – Chancellor Selection – Document List and Timeline – Part 1 (the decision) https://www.dropbox.com/s/um6lpzieagjc3ct/Chancellor%20Selection%20-%20Documents_Redacted-2.pdf?dl=0
  3. Fry, Greg.  “Pressure on Moore appointment mounts.”  250 News.  February 3, 2016.  2016/02/03/pressure-on-moore-appointment-mounts/
  4. Ewart, Peter.  “To be or not to be Chancellor of UNBC.”  December 7, 2015.  2015/12/07/to-be-or-not-to-be-chancellor-of-unbc/


Number 2 is interesting reading.

They redacted some of the items, but were obviously looking for some very specific things dealing with the Chancellor selection.

However, they missed blacking out the teleconference number and passcode. It is typical for the passcode to stay the same. However, perhaps it is a different one for each conference call.

“Heavily redacted Board minutes?” That is disappointing. Isn’t this a public Board with a responsibility to act in a transparent manner? The Board needs to find a consensus, and the leadership this would require appears to be sorely missing.

As I said before, I don’t have a dog in this fight. But if James Moore has any integrity, he will withdraw his name as chancellor, and the UNBC Board can get back to work without this damaging distraction that continues to wage on and on and on…

Time for the University to get out of politics, and get back to work.

This issue is (or should be DEAD)

No pal . It’s getting worse by the day . Heavily redacted ? Cockroaches don’t like the light either . If you can’t show what you are doing to the public that pays the piper , then you are not doing the right things . I think that university goings on do not qualify as national security issues to be redacted . What a stink .

For those interested, there is a blog post that reviews the FOI document recently released in detail. It can be found here:

“deep division, mistrust, and acrimony.”

Right. Coming from the left. Apparently you’re suggesting that the left should always be catered to, they should always get their way so as to avoid the possibility of them throwing a childish tantrum.

I am astonished at the level of criticism to this appointment.
This whole thing concerns a type of leadership at an institution of higher learning – here in Prince George. That institution should be bent on teaching the finer points of democracy. All signs of this question point to a fact that the majority of the Board decided that James Moore would be the Chancellor appointee.
It appears the protesters to this appointment will not accept that a decision they do not agree with and such decision(s) must be quashed! I am assuming many of those protesters are connected to the University, directly or in directly – or perhaps, they may simply be Left side ‘progressives’ which could make their concerns kind of understandable.
Should James Moore resign? Absolutely not! Grow up, people – this is called democracy!!!!! Unless, of course, Peter and company is now redefining democracy.

    That is not democracy. Democracy is when all stakeholders are involved in the decision making process. Having a political appointed board running rough over all other stakeholders is not consensus making amoung stakeholders.

    Most universities in Canada and all other first world democracies have political independence and require a democratic process of stakeholders when appointing a university figurehead.

      So tell me this, wise Eagle: WHO are the stakeholders? AND, WHO are not stakeholders? AND, if you consider yourself to be a stakeholder, who are you and what position do you hold that makes you a stakeholder?

      Nuffsnuff we are all stakeholders to some extent, as long as we are Canadian, British Columbian, or a resident of PG; and I am sure those levels of government are well represented on the board. But most importantly when it comes to these choices the major stakeholders that should be in on the appointment process for a Chancelor should most definitely include the students (current through the student union), and former (as the alumni have a vested interest in the universities reputation), as well as the faculty and senate.

      If it’s just a political appointment than the institution has no independence from politics and this corrupts the integrity of the institution being a non partisan third party that operates under the integrity of science and knowledge based learning which can be relied upon by society as not being politically motivated.

      I have attended UNBC as a student, but have no affiliation with it today other than as an alumni.

If the vote was reversed. That is to say 7 not in favour of the appointment and 6 in favour and 1 abstention we wouldn’t be having this conversation,. The results would be considered democratic and we would move on.

However because the vote went against the faculty associations they are not satisfied and what to continue the discussion until they get their way.

We have probably now arrived at a turning point on this issue, and its time for the faculty to put their money (principals) where their mouth is. They should resign their positions, and leave the University to make their point and to show that they are serious about this issue. To do less would lead one to think that they are basically trying to make political hay from this issue, and that they are being a little less than honest.

    Every other group at the University has come out against the nomination and even within the BOG itself, only a bare minimum of the BOG voted for Moore. It is pretty clear to most observers that Mr. Moore is an inappropriate choice for the University. It is literally as simple as that.

The lefts, foot stomping hissy fit tantrum continues. UNBC your true bigoted colours are showing.

    Interesting how the righties use insults and personal attacks while the lunatic fringe on the left resort to that abomination called “reason”.

UNBC the big sandbox on the hill..Only thing different here is you have adults fighting over the sandbox because someone didn’t win the popularity contest.. That goes for both sides..

Mr. Ewart states that this was a “closed meeting.” Last time I checked, in camera meetings were not supposed to be put out for the public to deconstruct, so I don’t get why he’s complaining that he can’t read the minutes. As well, with the minutes “heavily redacted,” (as would be expected for an in camera meeting), there’s a lot that can be taken out of context. How do you write an article and claim to know what the individuals expressed, behind closed doors, from a redacted document? Unless he was there, he shouldn’t be claiming to speak for any of those board members. And if he WAS there, he’s probably breaking some confidentiality agreements ….

Our university is in trouble, and it goes well beyond a controversial appointment. The deep divisions existed long before this. While the BoG may be ultimately responsible, they alone didn’t cause this fight. It may be time for *all* parties to put aside their strong-willed insistence on their way or the highway, and have some discussion about this issue and all the others. If faculty are so hell-bent on this being the hill they die on, it speaks volumes about the atmosphere up there. This one issue is the sticking point behind which all previous grievances are backing up.

If I was a student, I would appreciate the opportunity to hear multiple points of view on this subject and others, and make up my own mind. I would *not* appreciate having to learn in a toxic atmosphere. I won’t claim to know who started it, but unless everyone works together to effect some real change, it’s only going to get worse.

Well this is a first . I agree with seamat . It’s high time we had some one of colour on the BoG and as chancellor . Time to be inclusive , not divisive .

    Time to be inclusive? Inclusive of diversity? Diversity of race, ethnicity, colour, gender, sexual proclivity?

    How about diversity of opinion? Oh no, can’t have that, can we?

A 7-6-1 split, on the BoG no less, along with the significant number of undergraduate and graduate students and even the Senate who have all voted against the appointment plus all the names on the petition, can hardly be considered “democratic”. More like a plutocracy, especially with the two people who replaced those who recently stepped down.

Besides, I think you may have missed the point that Ewart made concerning the role of the chancellor, which is to provide leadership aimed at mending existing divisions within the institution as opposed to creating new ones.

LOL! Did the author actually reference his own work?

Mr. Matheson will be interviewed on Daybreak North on CBC tomorrow morning (Feb. 11) regarding the Moore appointment.

Wonder if Kamloops, Kelowna, Victoria, UBC, Simon Fraser, etc; have this type of infighting. Perhaps the students at UNBC should check out these other Universities.

    They don’t have this type of problem as they wouldn’t even think about asking anyone as inappropriate as Mr. Moore to be Chancellor.

UBC Chancellor. Lindsay Gordon. Banker. HSBC Bank of Canada among other things.

TRU Chancellor. Wally Oppal, Liberal MLA.

SFU Chancellor. Anne Giardini Q.C.Ex President of Weyerhauser. 5 years on SFU Board of Governors before becoming Chancellor.

Outgoing Chancellor SFU Carole Taylor ex BC Liberal Finance Minister, and now special financial advisor to Christy Clark.

Just sayin.

Just sayin’ what exactly, Pal? That UNBC shouldn’t have the cojones to stand up to a BoG acting like a bully and ramming through an appointment that everybody else who matters is opposed to, that will be divisive and oppositional? Is that what you’re sayin’?

I do not recall any influence the chancellor had on my course content during my university education several decades ago…Maybe my memory has failed me?? Time has moved on and we need to move on from this subject.

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