Monday, March 19, 2018

Open Letter to Colleagues: UBCFA Executive Elections

Dear Colleagues,

I think that it is important that our faculty association is represented by voices who can represent the totality of our membership, not a small segment of it.  

I have had many occasions to work with Bronwen and Alan over the course of my career at UBC – I have every confidence in them that they represent our best options at this moment in time for our association.  Along with Mark McLean [read Mark's excellent summary of issues and rationale for this vote], whom I respect deeply, I too offer my personal endorsement of Bronwen [candidate statement]  and Alan [candidate statement] for president and vice-president of our association.

If I have learned one thing over the past year serving as a faculty representative on the UBC Board of Governors it is that we need a strong active and effective faculty association willing to stand up and represent our membership. Bronwen and Alan are well placed to step up on our behalf.

We have an important choice this election.  We can vote for a narrowly focussed single issue group or we can select colleagues who will be considerate of issues and concerns from across the membership. I'm voting for colleagues that I consider will consider all views and fairly uphold the mandate of our faculty association: to fairly represent and speak for all of us as faculty.

Irrespective of my perspective on who one might wish to vote for, it is important that as many of us as possible do in fact vote. If you have already voted – thank you!  If not, please do not hesitate, exercise your vote and participate in shaping the leadership of our faculty association so that we can be assured it will represent all of us, not a small segment with a narrow agenda.


Charles Menzies

Comment received from Peter Wylie, candidate for VP of the faculty association send via email, March 26, 2018, 12:26 AM.

Hi Charles:
 Thanks for your message, very helpful. Somewhat smug and arrogant also, and a nice put-down to us here at little “small segment” and narrow-minded UBC Zero backwater with our (by obvious corollary to “small segment”) “narrow agenda.” Of course you need Vancouver members only to “represent the totality of our membership” and “willing to stand up and represent our membership.” Quite obviously, we need to be assured that “the leadership of our faculty association…will represent all of us, not a small segment with a narrow agenda” so quite obviously, that leadership cannot include UBC Okanagan members. Well said.  Of course logically “narrow agenda” does not follow from “small segment” and my agenda, to overturn the existing power structures in the UBCFA, is of course not “narrow.” But whatever, keep on with your logical fallacies and enjoy the tea and bikkies at the BOG. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Calling Upon UBC's Board of Governors to Issue Statement: Justice for Colton Bushie

Update: February 18, 2018.

UBC's Board of Governors voted to endorse and support President Ono's statement at the start of the Thursday, February 15th Board meeting.

Update: Feb. 13, 2018. 6:36pm.

UBC's President, Dr. Santa Ono issues a statement on behalf of UBCs community.

Thank you for your leadership Dr. Ono!


Dear Stuart,

In the wake of the call by hundred of Indigenous faculty members and allies across the country for our Universities to reaffirm their support of implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action I would ask the indulgence of the chair to entertain a motion to make a public statement of support for the family of Colton Bushie and to publicly reaffirm our commitment to implementing the TRC call to action. See here: statement.  

As arguably the leading post secondary institution in BC, if not Canada, I would suggest we have a moral obligation to take a leadership role in this matter.  I have taken the liberty to draft a statement, but I leave it to your good offices to find the wording that is most comfortable to you and fitting to our university, but offer the following for your consideration.

Proposed wording of statement to endorse.

The University of British Columbia extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Colten Boushie. In this moment of collective national self-reflection on the implications of Canada’s settler heritage, The University of British Columbia recognizes our need to support of Indigenous students, faculty, and staff.

We reaffirm our commitment to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and by so doing commit to: supporting Indigenous peoples during and beyond this time of deep pain, grief, and rage; taking actions to enhance institutional accountability towards Indigenous peoples and communities, and; supporting anti-oppressive education.

With warm regards,

Charles Menzies

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Update on proposed governance motions

The three motions on governance that I intended to propose (clarifying process of Board approval of Chancellor, advocating a return to electing the Chancellor, and composition of governance standing committee) were brought to last nights standing committee on governance. Things went better than they did with my first attempt when introducing a motion was denied by the chair of the board. The motions were accepted by the chair and placed on the agenda. But. But. But! They went to the closed agenda.

Well.  OK.

I advised the chair and the committee members (as I handed out copies of the 3 motions to the student reporters) that I had already publicized the motions, shared them with some other governors (including emailing them several weeks prior to the meeting to the Board Chair and Governance Chair), and had in fact blogged and tweeted about the motions and my intentions to bring them forward.

"Where does that leave me now that they are being placed on the closed agenda?" I asked.

Someone said (I can't recall whom), "you're welcome to bring them to the Board directly."

But what if in the closed session the committee (of which I am not an official member) the committee voted to hold the motions back, to ignore them, or to study them in a working group, or to selectively do some and not the rest of what was included?

Well, since any discussion, debate, or agreement took place in closed session I can say nothing about what may have transpired.  In fact if, for example, I do not reintroduce those motions in the open Board meeting, I can not tell anyone the reason why.  It might because I am tired of the issue?  Perhaps I heard an argument in closed session that convinced me not to proceed?  Perhaps the committee decided to stop the discussion and tell me it was not a priority issue? Perhaps it is already being dealt with? Perhaps I realized that no matter what argument I made, no matter what evidence I might present, no matter what faculty sentiment on the subject might be, there is no way, under the current configuration, that any fundamental change opening up the inner decision making process of the board is possible. But all that would be speculation and conjecture and I can neither confirm nor deny any of those speculative thoughts. Because the motions were placed into closed session and I am prevented from speaking about anything that may have (or even did not) happen during the closed session.

It's a Gordian Knot of administrative process.