About two dozen professors and faculty, some with duct tape over their mouths, protested at a meeting of the University of Northern British Columbia's board of governors over former Conservative MP James Moore's appointment as chancellor of the school.
This was the first public meeting held since the board reaffirmed its decision to appoint Moore chancellor in an email last week, and while Moore's appointment was not on the agenda, the board decided to give the protesters 20 minutes of time to voice their concerns.
Speakers told the board they are upset Moore was still a sitting cabinet minister when the nomination period for chancellor closed, and they raised concerns about Moore's role in a government that cut funding for post-secondary education.
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"This is not a fight between Liberal, NDP members, Conservatives. It's people fighting for the values of this university — values this individual and the party he served spent a great deal of time attacking and undermining," said Michael Murphy, a political science professor and university senator.
An online petition asking the board to reverse the decision has over 2,000 signatures and earlier this week, the graduate student society formally voiced its opposition to the appointment.
"Really, I just don't think he's a qualified choice. And I think a lot of the university community feels that way," said Jessy Rajan, outgoing president of the society.
"To have someone who who doesn't represent our values or the university community is just not a suitable choice."
Board of governor chair Ryan Matheson told the gallery he is listening to the concerns but reiterated the board will be moving ahead with the appointment, much to Murphy's disappointment.
"There was absolutely no detailed response of any kind to any of the specific concerns raised," he said. "I think the board has shown a complete lack of leadership on this issue."
Murphy says faculty members will be preparing for a vote of non-confidence in Matheson — although he admits this is only a symbolic move, as the faculty cannot remove the board.