abuse of power is the power to insist what happened didn’t or doesn’t matter

If I hadn’t worked in a controlled environment for all of my adult life with strict policies and procedures in place, I would believe that BC controlled environments issue anyone with an office and a staff an exemption card from those expectations.

My brush with the Honourable Minister’s office was elongated but brief and thoroughly unpleasant from start to finish. I had to be dessert-fork polite to a woman who had just lied to my face and then tried to argue that what I heard hadn’t happened.

I didn’t know how long she’d been holding onto the next step of the process until after I’d gotten off the phone, but if I’d known at the time it had been almost a full month, I don’t know if I could have maintained my professional politeness.

Not one single person I talked to, from the Chair, the Dean, the Provost, the President, the Director of Equity and Inclusion, the pedagogist, the Senate, the VP of Students, the UBC Ombudspeople, the Senate, or a Minister’s office showed me the same courtesy. Instead, each of them was deeply annoyed they were asked to do their required job in the established appeals process designed to catch a conflict of interest that should have been hi-vis obvious to all of them and reported as such.

Spoiler alert: Every single office rubber-stamped the Provost’s right to hide his own conflict of interest and use his own authority to say he had the right to ignore it.

And through it all, I was the polite one. But at least this post can be turned into a checklist of all the hand-puppets that will need the Provost’s fist deep inside them to speak.

An entire institution willingly turned its back on the fundamental role of post-secondary education in modern society so an egotist wouldn’t have to admit an embarrassing mistake. How dare I be upset that in order to ignore an academic freedom violation, an academic institution signed off on removing academic freedom as a concept from anyone who needed it the most.

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