UBC says no-confidence vote part of 'healthy discussion'

The University of British Columbia says the faculty association's 'no confidence' vote on the board of governors is part of a natural discussion and representative of the great diversity of opinion that exists at a large university.

The university’s board of governors has invited the faculty association to a meeting on April 14

UBC Students may be forced to compete in the highly-competitive Metro Vancouver rental market this September due to long wait lists for on-campus housing. (Christer Waara/CBC)

The University of British Columbia says the faculty association's 'no confidence' vote on the board of governors is part of a natural discussion and representative of the great diversity of opinion that exists at a large university.  

According to results released Tuesday, 800 faculty voted in support of the motion — about 62 per cent of the 1,294 votes cast.

The motion was not binding on the university, but UBC says it takes the vote "very seriously."

The university's board of governors has invited the faculty association, as well as student and alumni groups to attend a meeting on April 14, according to UBC vice president of external communications Philip Steenkamp.

"It is a significant internal discussion but I think it is a healthy internal discussion," he told CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

"University is a place full of people with big ideas and big personalities and big egos and I think it is healthy to have these discussions."

Faculty concerns

The no-confidence motion is part of the ongoing fallout at UBC from the sudden resignation of UBC president Arvind Gupta last summer, though the motion doesn't explicitly mention the former president.

In fact, lack of transparency is one of the biggest concerns the faculty association has, following Gupta's resignation.

"We have a lot that has happened at the university and we know it through everything except through the formal documents and the communications of the board," said Mark MacLean, president of the UBC Faculty Association.

"That is of concern to the faculty."

'I do think we are on track'

But Steenkamp says the university has been working hard to maintain an open line of communication with the community as well as the public.

The university is following a new internal communications strategy and Steenkamp says he plans to "reach proactively out" to the public too.

"This is a work in progress. I do think we're on track," he said.

The university's reputation appears to have remained somewhat intact — enough to attract significant donations. UBC raised more money than it ever has during a fundraiser during its most recent campaign, according to Steenkamp.

UBC's president search committee has a long list of 16 candidates and will be short-listing in April, he said.

With files from CBC Radio's The Early Edition and On The Coast


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: UBC responds to faculty's non-confidence.

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