Thursday, April 13, 2023

More on communications and media professionals.

 A while back campus and community planning tweeted out a praise tweet on their campus vision 2050 plan. In it they mentioned a community connectors program. When I followed the link provided I could find nothing but a glossy pamphlet talking about their engagement but nor substantive explanation of the program. So a tweeted a reply. 


So I tried a less public approach and sent a direct message.

"On community connectors - I would like to learn more, the link you provided in your tweet does not directly or obviously connect to anything that says community connector program. I have so many questions and would really like to learn more - not about your 'consultations' but about this 'unique' program you profiled in your tweet."

They responded"

Thanks for the question and appreciate your interest in the Community Connectors pilot initiative. We recently released the Engagement Summary Report for the draft 30-Year Vision, which is what our social posts were linking to. On page 12 of that report, you can learn more about the Community Connectors pilot initiative. A list of all the groups we connected with through our engagement (including through the Community Connectors pilot initiative) is available in Appendix 1 of the report. Links to both the report and the appendices can be found here: In response to your other question about how we determine historic underrepresentation, we are guided by definitions from UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office:

I asked for further clarification.

"Thanks for this, the one paragraph summary and the reference to an appendix doesn't really say much. The social media post implied more details than provided - but that's okay, I understand that. However, I would be intersted if there were any differences in what people said, between these 'historically underrepresented' and historically over represented, where there there was any difference within groups as well, etc. Also what was involved in the 'training' and where the trainees historically overrepresented or under? Etc."

They advised they'd bump it up a level and passed it to someone higher up to comment.

Then I got this email from a communications person:

Hi Charles, 


Thanks for the follow-up questions about the Campus Vision 2050 Community Connectors pilot program. We’re happy to share information about this new approach to engagement.


With the Board Secretariat’s protocols for Board member engagement in mind, it would be helpful to understand if you are seeking this information to support your role as a Board member, for your blog or as a curious community member? Once we have this info, we can direct our response appropriately.


Many thanks…

No where did I say I was speaking as a governor - my twitter account is really clear about it being personal and not reviewed by UBC. 

I replied:

"Thank you for answering,


For this inquiry, please provide only information that supports your public statements and/or public documents. 


My initial comment on twitter (which I trust you have reviewed) noted that the public tweet highlighted the community connectors program, but the link connected only to the glossy engagement report with little to no info on the cc pilot.


There was no information, aside from the phrase ‘community connectors’ (that I could easily locate), about what was involved. Nor was there any empirical data that substantiated who might be historically underrepresented and how such folks were being identified.


I share the specific dm’s from twitter below for reference.


I may be interested in writing a story for my online newspaper, A Campus Resident, but at this point in time am simply curious about something that was promo’d without any clear background.



With warm regards,




PS, You will know very clearly if I am asking as a member of the board of governors as I will say so explicitly and I would do so via the board secretariat, not over twitter.


They thanked me for the clarification and said they would prepare a response. Next message I got came from the Board Secretariat explaining the protocols for communication with the administration.

Such is life.

Board protocols coming down

When one is a public academic there are many pitfalls one might encounter. This is compounded by being an elected member of the board of governors. Here is one example. 

As a governor I have continued the sorts of public interventions and inquiries that I have done for years. On my twitter stream I raise questions about university decisions. Sometimes, rather than engage in a public questioning, I send an email or a direct message through what ever social media platform the university was using.

I also have continued a writing project, A Campus Resident, where I make it really clear I am writing a stories for publication. 

Yet it would seem that despite these efforts on  my part some people still are 'confused' by the complexity of who I am and in what role I am in when speaking  with them. 

One of my observations drawn from years of living on campus and working in a university is that non-academic management staff really find it hard to functionally appreciate an intellectual frame of reference where reflections, consideration, questioning, and even challenging is simply part of the process. Not all of them I want to quickly add - but enough of them so that it can make it tiresome and uncomfortable becuase they are the ones who are adept in the procedural plays.

I will thank them just the same. As they help me take better notes, make more clear and explicit what I am doing. In their sensitivities they also reveal fault lines and issues I hadn't realized existed before I sent in my simple question asking for a bit more info about this or that.


        Dear Karen,

Thank you for letting me know that if I have any information requests related to board business to route through you. I have not yet had the opportunity to request any information for board business but am quite happy to hear of your eagerness to support any board related questions I may have.

If any in your circle experiences confusion, please let them know that if I am asking for information in my capacity as a governor I will explicitly say so.

I would also note that I have for close to three decades been a member of my community and have many different and pre-existing relationships that exist outside of being a governor (which is, being a governor that is, quite honestly a very small part of what I do in my life). Clearly being a governor adds nuance, but it is not nor should it be the defining aspect of how I conduct my academic research – of which A Campus Resident is part of. It is a research and intellectual product that is not related to being a governor.

Again, I look forward to sending you information requests that might aid my work as a governor, but until such time as I have any such requests, I will continue in the same manner that I have for going on three decades.

With warm regards,