No confidence in UNB administration

FREDERICTON (CUP) — Like Mount Allison University’s Faculty Council, a number of separate faculties at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) have recently passed motions of non-confidence in their senior administration.

Over the past couple weeks, four faculties at UNB—science, engineering, arts and business—have been passing non-confidence motions against UNB’s senior administration, meaning president Eddy Campbell and the vice-presidents. The education faculty also passed a motion, however, it doesn’t exactly state non-confidence, but still echoes the similar concerns as the others.

The faculties argue there is a lack of transparency with UNB’s financial planning. With academic departments receiving $1.2 million in cuts, they fear the university has strayed away from its core academic mission, leading to concerns for its future.

“There is no transparency in that budget process at all. And it doesn’t appear to us that it’s based on any kind of academic objectives,” said Cliff Shaw, chair of earth sciences and member of the UNB academic council. “It doesn’t meet the needs of the academic units and if it doesn’t meet the needs of those units, it doesn’t meet the needs of the students.”

UNB’s English department chair Jennifer Andrews said UNB’s faculties can’t handle more cuts.

“It becomes very clear that departments are at the point where they are on the brink of losing accreditation, losing the abilities to deliver certain key programs, whether it be graduate or undergraduate programs, and the ability to serve students in the meaningful way,” Andrews said.

UNB president Eddy Campbell said in the statement on Friday, April 3, that he understands faculties’ frustrations and the university is working to address them.

“We understand some members of our faculty are frustrated right now, and we sincerely want to work with them to address their concerns. They have provided us with questions. We have already provided some responses and we will be sharing more information soon,” Campbell said.

“We are committed to providing more information about the decisions we make and why we make them. This is an investment in the future of UNB.”

Non-confidence motions are not binding at UNB, meaning the senior administration doesn’t need to act upon them. However, the faculties hope that their motions will bring a change of direction for the university. Shaw said it’s something UNB’s Board of Governors will need to address eventually.

“I think that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do, to bring the attention of the Board of Governors to the problems we are facing in the university,” he said.  “And that these problems we don’t feel our current senior administration are addressing, or are even capable of addressing.”

Shaw said these motions are unrelated to January’s strike. Professors’ union AUNBT has had no involvement in the passing of these motions.

“These are a result of long-standing issues that the [faculty] chairs and other faculty had with the way the university is administered,” he said. “And as we’ve started digging further into the finances of the university, we’re discovering more and more things that make us question whether or not they have the best interest of UNB’s academic programs at heart.”

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