That was in an email from a colleague at one of UBC’s better departments. “Gents, In your capacities as …, and BoG-dude (AKA faculty representative on the Board of Governors), have a look at these two links. A no-brainer, if you ask me.” One link is to starting salaries, the other to house prices. Both for Austin, Texas. That was in response to an email from the Head.
“Colleagues: Regrettably, X.X. has declined our offer and accepted a position at the University of Texas at Austin. Best wishes and Happy New Year.”
Even more regrettable is that this is becoming a recurring story at UBC …. at least in some departments. Only yesterday, the chair of my department’s search committee confided: “I really think that the applicant from Berkeley is seriously interested in our CRC position, but I won’t hold my breath until he gets to discover our housing prices”.
And incredibly, we don’t have serious data about how many candidates have been declining our offers because of the ridiculously distorted salary vs. housing cost ratio in Vancouver.
Even more astonishing is that only two of the UBC deans have expressed serious concerns about this major impediment to recruitment and retention efforts. Another said that it was not a problem yet but conceded that it might become one in the near future. The rest chose to remain silent. I hope that it was a sign of their contentment with their Faculties’ record (and academic level) on these issues.
In any case, the Board and the Senior Administration are committed to do something about it. But first, we need your support, your help, and your contribution. Please join us on Wednesday, January 18th for a forum that will focus on faculty/staff housing. You will get to have an “early look” at the options being explored and an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback about key issues related to these options.
You may have been one of the lucky colleagues, who have resolved your housing challenge in times past, and you may have even benefitted royally –at least on paper– from Vancouver’s inflationary real estate market. But we still need your help because this is also about the future of UBC.