By Professor Arvind Gupta
As many of you are aware, there is a by-election for a faculty representative to the Board of Governors. This is an important election for UBC Vancouver faculty, and I feel compelled to send this message, given what has been happening at UBC over the past few years. I have been dismayed to witness disregard (and at times attacks) on our most fundamental values: the very essence of our academic mission, and the collegial governance and academic freedom required to fulfill it. We, the faculty, have long argued that these values are necessary for the free and unhindered pursuit of knowledge and discovery, for preserving a culture of openness and transparency, for upholding the rights of the underrepresented, protecting the vulnerable, and for speaking out against injustice of any form. Any undermining of these values is felt, not just within our institution, but more broadly across society.
I believe the root cause of many of the challenges we face is a fundamental misunderstanding of “What is a university?” Prof. Isidore Rabi of Columbia University said it best when he confronted Dwight Eisenhower, then President of Columbia. “Mr. President, we are not employees of the university. We are the university.” We need a faculty representative on the Board who exemplifies this ideal, someone with the courage to challenge any administrative action that sways from our core mission, with the willingness to bring faculty into conversations on issues that matter, and the fortitude to hold the Board accountable. I believe the candidate most capable of fulfilling this ideal is Prof. Nassif Ghoussoub and I will be casting my vote for him.
Professor, Computer Science