Students and faculty at the University of New Brunswick are criticizing the university over its plan to hire a new communications manager to help “build the president’s brand.”
The position is to assist in building Eddie Campbell's personal brand and expand his profile.
The job posting comes four months after a labour dispute that revolved around concerns from academic staff who felt the university was spending more on administration than teaching.
Miriam Jones, the president of the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers, said in an email that Campbell’s priorities are in the wrong place.
"If president Campbell worried less about his 'brand' and more about his reputation, the whole UNB community would be a lot better off," she said.
“Branding is just wallpaper over what should be substantive discussion of civic responsibilities within the university. That conversation is not something you can manufacture through the commercial exercise of 'branding.' I mean good grief, what is he, toothpaste?"
Campbell was not available for an interview. However, he said in a statement the communications position has been vacant for several months.
"This person will help us build UNB's profile, allowing us to tell our story both inside and outside the university community," the statement said.
UNB called 'hypocritical'
The university’s decision is not sitting well with some students.
Alyssa Hines is graduating this year but back in January, in the middle of a bitter faculty strike, she had her doubts.
"I was worried about my grad year being extended or cancelled," she said.
"That was the big concern for students, especially those that were graduating, was that if the strike kept going that the term would be completely screwed."
About 550 full-time professors, teaching staff and librarians walked off the job on Jan. 13 over wages and working conditions. A tentative deal was reached on Jan. 30.
The university had argued it did not have the financial resources to meet the faculty union’s wage demands. The faculty union also criticized Campbell for the size of his administration.
After the strike ended, four academic faculties passed motions of non-confidence or expressed concerns about the university’s management practices.
Hines said she finds it "hypocritical" now for Campbell to go out and hire a communications officer to help build the president’s brand.
"One of the things that was big during the strike was that they didn't have the money to help out the professors," she said.