a “church”, a “religious leader”, and abuses of authority

A church is a weird thing. As an institution, it exists even though all the parishioners could stop going to it and all new parishioners take their place in the pews. It exists if all the administrators quit and are replaced by other administrators. It exists through policy changes and religious leader progressions. It even exists if the building moves to a different address or if the church moves to a different building altogether. The institution of a “church” is a separate thing from the people and the building itself.

For the effort of becoming an institution, they have certain benefits given to them by the government. They don’t have to pay taxes as long as they follow the policies that they will always hold themselves to. It’s an if/then contract with the government that if they behave a certain way, then they get certain benefits.

But say this particular “church” has a “religious leader” who has been self-dealing for whatever reason. Let’s say he’s telling people that his god wants them to invest heavily in the “leader’s” personal business. It’s not in the “church’s” best interest that their parishioners invest for sure. If the “religious leader” is that shady, who knows what other corners he’d be willing to cut to get his own way in the short term.

If it gets out that the “religious leader” is using his authority to better his prospects regardless of what’s in the best interest of the “church”, the “church’s” reputation could be blackened for the short-term. But at least their policies outline exactly what they should do to limit their culpability as much as possible. This means participating in the investigation to its fullest ability to cooperate with the authorities.

This is the only way that the “church” can keep its reputation separate from the “religious leader’s” reputation. They couldn’t have foreseen why such an important man would make such a foolish mistake as to put down, in writing, that it’s in his parishioner’s spiritual best interest to take advantage of the 20% off the buy-in for his newest NFT if they purchase within the next 24 hours.

But once they realized he did, they were duty-bound by their policies to act. The provost might not have been trying turn a profit off his position, but tolerating an academic freedom violation built into his program by thinking he could even try to remove a student’s academic freedom so that “on paper” the academic freedom violation could continue to be tolerated is just as vile from an educational standpoint as preying on parishioners’ religion for one’s personal gain.

Or at least, it is to me. To the UBC and at least one BC Ministry’s office, that’s just “the provost has already decided on this matter. You’re harassing people trying to draw attention to the injustice.”

Up to this point, the “church” isn’t responsible for the “religious leader’s” choice to abuse his authority. If they start an investigation into the matter, and put the “leader” on leave until they had enough evidence to fire him going through the proper channels, they did everything they could have possibly done to fix the problem.

The churchgoers are going to find out what the “religious leader” did. But they’re also going to know that their “church” did everything they could once they found out what had happened.

But this “church” didn’t do that. This “church” thought ‘ugh. The only person complaining that the “religious leader” abused his authority has been known to question other “religious leader’s” practices in the past. The complaint will only prove they were right to question our program’s validity. If we say the “church’s” laws need accusations to be spoken out loud and we cut out this person’s tongue, they can’t ever *say* the “religious leader’s” actions were an abuse of authority.’

‘Brilliant’ said all the other officers, who all now know that if they fuck up as badly as this “religious leader” did, their entire team is there to cover their asses too.

But even if the “church” has all agreed that they’re going to ignore their policies against the provost’s actions, they have to ignore their appeals process, too. If the now-tongueless person is allowed to “speak” at all, then they’ll have to listen to their complaint which negates removing their academic freedom to speak and be heard. So the other officers allowed their “religious leader” the right to not only dismiss complaints against him, but dismiss his decision from the appeals process as well.

And the officers of the institution thought that they had an excellent, fool-proof plan. As long they told themselves there would be no consequences, there couldn’t be any consequences. Forgetting that, as an institution, they have to follow their policies or they have failed to act as an institution. It’s not illegal to do so, but it is pretty career-ending to have made the decision and followed through with the actions required to allow an officer of an institution to ignore his conflict of interest to close a matter on himself.

But to have put down in writing that this had been the intent from the beginning just boggles my mind to the point of distraction. How can the officers of an institution fail to remember that they are officers of an institution? Even the Trump organization was smart enough not to write down they were ignoring their policies on purpose because their boss told them to.

Had they allowed the abuse of authority to be reported, the university itself would have been fine. The officers of the institution and the institution itself are two separate legal entities. But because the university actively tried to cover it up, it’s a whole new set of problems.

I spent months trying to explain to people who should have known better why the provost’s actions should be kept internal. I was treated like a dullard because I couldn’t understand a provost was allowed to ignore his own conflict of interest.

The only way any officer of an institution is allowed to abuse their authority is if all the other officers of the institution allow them to do so. As far back as 2020, “the institution” allowed an officer to pick which definition of “improper conduct” they were going to care about and ignored multiple policies to do so.

I’m not sure where the UBC legal counsel got their law degrees if they believe the provost was acting in the scope of his authority to ask how to “legally” get away with ignoring his conflict of interest. I never got the chance to ask the question. Mark Crosbie, esq was all too happy to put in writing (twice!) that he wasn’t even willing to get involved in the insitutition’s appeal’s process as outlined in its UBC Investigations Policy because the provost had already made his decision.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s