Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Adshade Affair

Update: As of November 22, 2019.  At the board meeting I introduced a motion regarding the problems with the senate managed election process (see below). At the meeting the Board Secretariat advised that the board had no jurisdiction. Nonetheless, I persisted (with the support of Dr Ghoussoub) and laid out the concern that the management of the  nomination process raised concerns over the integrity of the election and that in turned raised concerns with the integrity of the boards functioning.  After some discussion Board Chair M. Korenberg offered to draft a revised motion that would address our concerns while respecting jurisdictional matters. He offered to bring that motion back at the end of the meeting which he did. The revised motion was then moved by myself, seconded by Ghoussoub, and then duly passed.

Governance transparency at UBC moves in haltering steps forward and then lurches backwards. While significant improvements have been made on shifting work into the open sessions we continue to see closed doors on democracy and transparency. Special working groups operating outside the standard board and committee structure proliferate. This is mitigated by making most of their materials publicly available. Meeting rules get 'improved' in such a way as to limit the flow of information. Now we are facing an potential electoral scandal with regards to faculty representatives on the board of governors.

It has become apparent, via social media, that acclaimed economist, Dr. Marinaa Adshade submitted a nomination to run for a faculty position on the board of governors and had their nomination rejected twice: first by the governance officer in the UBC administration running the election, and then by the appeal process.

We know nothing other than the information posted on social media about this affair. However, the entire process, locked in a formalistic administrative space, raises concerns about interference by the registrars office in the election of representatives of faculty. We already have serious issues with how faculty are included, heard, and engaged in governance matters of this university.  This affair threatens to push things even further off track.

In light of this I will be putting an emergency motion to the governance committee this Friday to the effect:

Whereas the integrity of the governance process at UBC relies upon fair and open electoral processes, and
Whereas the current system is hidden behind administrative chambers,
Be it resolved that the UBC Board of Governors review the current process for the election of faculty representatives and
Be it further resolved that the the board review the specific case whereby Dr. Adhsade's nomination was rejected.