Victoria Defends CNC Board Appointments
Prince George, B.C. – Two of three appointments to the College of New Caledonia’s board of governors have been defended by the provincial government.
CNC announced three new members last Friday via an Order-in-Council from the Ministry of Advanced Education.
One of them is Sandra Carroll, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Advanced Education, while another, Robert Lee Doney, is the former Deputy Minister (the third is Paul Campo, CNC’s Registrar).
“We don’t really know what they’re up to to be honest with you,” says Deborah Collette, president of CNC’s Faculty Association.
“There’s been a number of issues that have transpired at CNC over the course of the last year and we certainly have a lot of communities that seem to be a little up in arms with some of the decisions that are being made at the executive level.”
So up in arms that she says they sent a letter to the Ministry of Advanced Education February 3, 2016 outlining their concerns.
Though she wouldn’t go into the details of that letter, she admitted some of their concerns include the board’s decision to suspend intakes into the college’s Dental Hygiene program, to reduce counselling services, and to cancel a program in Burns Lake which resulted in job losses.
“I think this is just the culmination of just a lot of bad press that CNC has gotten but to be honest with you, I’m not exactly sure. We did send the letter but we didn’t get a response from the minister so we’re not entirely certain as to what the ministry is doing.”
250News contacted the ministry for an explanation regarding the appointments and received the following response from Minister Andrew Wilkinson:
“The College of New Caledonia is a respected and valued college in the north that has provided high-quality education and training for thousands of students since 1969 and will continue to do so for many more years to come.
“To position the college for short and and long-term success, the Deputy Minister of Advanced Education, Sandra Carroll, and Lee Doney have been appointed as board members to provide support, guidance and advice.”
An email from the ministry adds “both Carroll and Doney are long-time public servants with complimentary skills that will benefit CNC and students.”
And though CNC is currently the only public post-secondary institution in B.C. with a ministry staff person on the board, the ministry says it isn’t without precedent.
“In recent years, the Deputy Minister from the Ministry of Advanced Education was appointed to the JCIB (Justice Institute of BC Board).”
CNC board chair Vince Prince says he can’t speak to the unusualness of the appointments because of his short time with the board but claims they are still welcome additions.
“I’m happy to have them there because they bring a wealth of knowledge for me because of course we are a fairly new board,” he says. “We’ve been asking for some experience and some board governance training and so I’m hopeful that this is part of the process.”
As for concerns raised by CNC’s Faculty Association, Prince says he wasn’t aware of the letter sent to the ministry earlier this month though he acknowledges they have expressed concerns in the past.
He says those concerns resulted in a non-confidence vote in administration last year.
“They told me they had a vote in September,” he says. “We’ve (also) had presentations from the Faculty Association expressing some displeasure. My concern with that is they were talking about things that were 10 years old and sort of a 10 year cycle in terms of layoffs and things like that.”
250News asked Collette for details on the non-confidence vote but she refused to comment.