Re: Ms. Wightman’s presentation at the April 14th meeting of the Board of Governors

From: Prof. Kalina Christoff, Department of Psychology

Dear Mr. Belkin,

As a faculty member at UBC, I was delighted to hear today’s discussions between the Board of Governors and various UBC representatives. It was encouraging to hear your thoughtful responses to each presenter and the engaged questions that a number of Board members asked. I was just starting to feel a pleasant sense of hopefulness and, dare I say, a glimmer of trust in the Board of Governors — when suddenly, a cold bucket of water was poured over my head in the form of Faye Wightman’s presentation.

Ms. Wightman’s tone all but destroyed the atmosphere of respect that was created throughout the preceding 1.5 hours. In the space of 10 short minutes, she managed to gravely insult, disrespect and belittle faculty members and others who have been working to improve governance practices at UBC. Rebuilding trust is a delicate exercise and scheduling such an insulting and outright offensive presentation for the end of today’s discussion can only mean that whoever was doing the scheduling did not want us to leave feeling a sense of hope. Whoever did today’s scheduling wanted faculty members to leave the meeting feeling “put in their places,” feeling like the little kids in the playground that Ms. Wightman compared us to.

Furthermore, I would like to question the decision to have Ms. Wightman represent alumni today in front of the Board. It was my understanding that the Board wanted to hear feedback and suggestions on how to improve its transparency and operations. Whoever chose Ms. Wightman to speak on behalf of alumni today clearly did not want the Board to hear any critical feedback from alumni.

All in all, I would like to congratulate you on everything you and your Board members did today, and to convey my regret that your hard labours were, in my opinion, almost completely undone by the decision to chose Ms. Wightman among the presenters and to schedule her presentation last.


Kalina Christoff, Ph.D.