Before we lose sight of the question at hand

In view of the comments –public and private— about my post regarding the UBC Board’s governance, I am led to further clarify the issue intended to be up for debate.

Independently of the individuals involved, the FA letter has triggered a legitimate debate that we should have had a long time ago.

To ensure the issue is devoid of any personal or circumstantial content, I will pose the question in the following way:

Suppose that midway in her term as a faculty representative on the Board of Governors, Professor X was appointed Vice-President of the university. Should Professor X resign from her position on the Board so that she can perform her executive duties, or not?

Please feel free to debate the legal, ethical, and governance aspects of this question. The ramifications of this issue are numerous and wide-ranging. It  is not just confined to the role of the Board but also to all kinds of existing university bodies, panels and standing committees, where independent oversight is intended and expected (I think!).

I will post in the next couple of days my own personal views on the role and adequacy of independent faculty representation in the current university governance.

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One Response to Before we lose sight of the question at hand

  1. Charles Menzies says:

    Suppose that midway in her term as a faculty representative on the Board of Governors, Professor X was appointed Vice-President of the university. Should Professor X resign from her position on the Board so that she can perform her executive duties, or not?

    The issue here seems to me to be clear -yes, Professor X does indeed resign her position on the Board so that she can perform her executive duties. The dual role issues and the possibility of conflict of interest should be clear and apparent to all of us.

    A parallel, though different case, can be seen in our current provincial Liberal Party leadership race. Here we see leadership hopefuls who hold executive positions (cabinet ministries) resigning their posts to run for the party leadership. This is in a sense the opposite case to our current BoG example -but seems to me to be of a similar order of principle.

    At the end of the day I am concerned about the capacity of any individual to carry out a dual role -to represent both management and the managed as the elected representative of the managed. Being free from not just actual but perceived conflict of interest in the prosecution of one’s elected responsibilities is important to me.

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