UBC betrayed one of its own and itself (part one)

I didn’t always like what I had to learn at UBC. For example, I didn’t know who my director was until I got an email from her that attacked my academic freedom. I would have preferred to remain on a not-having-to-learn-each-other-names basis.

I also learned that I had been involved in “interpersonal personal conflict with all of my instructors” for the first time when I read Mark Crosbie’s words to the Law Society. It was the excuse he gave as to why if he violated his code of conduct, it wouldn’t require disciplinary action.

It proves that the Chewbacca defence can work in legal matters. Unlike the Law Society, I know that even if I had interpersonal conflict with every one of my instructors and he included the documented proof, it still would not defend the fact that he chose to violate his code of conduct.

It certainly didn’t matter the Provost had told him to not get involved. If the appeals process of the Investigations Policy was followed, the University Counsel came *after* the provost’s involvement. The UBC made it obvious it intended its counsel to override a provost’s decision.

The provost can violate his own code of conduct. He has the legal right to. But he could not ask his university counsel, ‘hey, how do we get away with doing bad things?’

It was his bad luck that the university answered him with: ‘Funny you should say that! We already decided “do bad things” means whatever we want it to as long as we stick to most of the more commonly known laws that young people might break. That must include removing academic freedom regardless of BoG legal expectations!’

And the Provost, VP of Academics in the University of British Columbia and quoted on the Academic Freedom page about the importance of making wrong-opinion-havers welcomed in his community went ahead and did just that.

Policy-wise, I have a few notes from my expert opinion:

Even if I had been a UBC Karen, I’d still be a UBC Person that should have been able to trust that UBC lawyers understood their UBC policies still applied to its Persons, even if they wanted to see managers over perceived slights.

And I didn’t ask to see a manager until a freedom the UBC promised to protect was set on fire by the UBC. It was UBC’s responsibility to educate me on how important academic freedom was. UBC was so sick as an institution that when it fucked up, it had not trained itself to want to stop it.

How auditors didn’t catch only UBC employees have personal and academic freedom harassment protections at the UBC is beyond me. All that money put into auditing educational institutions and not one of them thought to ask, “Hey, so…where do the non-employee students report their harassment to UBC?”

Because they can’t and the UBC won’t take a complaint even if you track down through the Designated Respondent in the Retaliation policy that Harassment complaints based on SC7 go to the Director of Investigations.

Quoth the Director of Investigations: Nu-uh.

Which is why I told them specifically no employee will ever get in trouble for just doing what the policies say, even if they don’t understand it. I advised them to call their HR and tell them this student insists there’s a training void in the procedures.

But nope. If a UBC officer wasn’t trained on how to do something at the UBC, it’s just the way it has always been. Like war with EastAsia, or something.

The UBC has known there hasn’t been a way for a student to report non-sexual harassment since 2020 and does not see that as a problem because it knows a respectful environment that harassment interferes with isn’t legally required. UBC exploited that error again in 2021 to make an even bigger academic freedom violation-based complaint disappear.

This is an institution we’re to trust can handle billions of dollars of money to fund their research that they — personally — have not earned to do so. But when there were negative consequences for one of their own, they used institutional resources to protect UBC Officers from institutional consequences.

And there is almost no oversight on its actions despite Billions with a B at stake. It’s taken months and months and months to get any complaint to the front of an ombudsperson’s queue. They would have had the file a month sooner if the Honourable Kang’s office thought it had to provide effective service even to members of the public the UBC has spread malicious rumours* about (*as per R-E-S).

It has yet to be resolved. Dr. Ono announced he was leaving in October in July. And that’s even with UBC allegedly acting illegally.

Institutions are supposed to be self-governing. Legally, nothing can be more important than the institution’s best interest. The expectation set in the University Act could not be more succinct.

A student would need to know that despite being told a thousand times that they didn’t have a case that UBC was talking out of its butthole each time. They did so because they let the same butthole take the wheel, no matter which name or title the actual email was sent under.

All the shell-buttholes trusted their butthole boss knew what he was talking about when he said I had no case. And the lawyers made it all legal. Narain gave exceptionally wrong policy advice, however. Having trained people give policy advice would have been a hard stop to all of this nonsense. It was Narain’s duty to have been the final institutional brake person.

It never needed to get to the lawyers. No one properly trained on policy should have advised oh, yeah, what the guy abusing his authority says! We’re pro-conflict-of-interest around here because no one stopped to check if it was legal for everyone in an organization to legally ignore conflicts of interest. We’re positive our legal opinion that is valid for the UBC Persons who don’t have to legally know better will work for Dr. Ono’s Board of Governors’ legal obligations!

And then, despite being an institution that was institutionally obliged to be training its Persons to actively defend academic freedom, UBC spent a year believing that students had absolutely no right to freely question their decisions, despite that being the activity the institution promised to protect.

Had they completed their required actions in the acceptance of findings, they would have had an established a system to track Academic Freedom violations. Board of Governor members like the president should have been trained to know exactly what to do.

At that salary range, and in exchange for sweet cello arrangements, a properly trained president would have known to say, wait, no, guys. Absolutely not. Do you know what happened the last time we fucked around with academic freedom? One of us had to step down from this cushy lifestyle. Does anyone here want to step down from their cushy lifestyle? Does anyone here want to pay for their own cellos?

And the bad actors would sneak out with their literal tails dragging between their legs. No one wants to pay for their own cellos, whatever their cellos metaphorically are.

There is no second warning in controlled institutional policy. They have one chance to fix it and show proof the fixes have been completed and everyone moves on with their lives. They can never make the mistake again because this time, they know what to look out for, or what to train for if that expectation is not met.

But the system is painfully self-healing by design. The first error was caused because the UBC community was unaware that Academic Freedom had to be actively protected. The rest of the errors were caused because UBC did not attempt to fix the first error that happened.

This means it was completely preventable.

The UBC receives billions of dollars of public funding from their public trust and takes tuition from students who are only UBC Persons until it is no longer convenient.

I think of the titles of the UBC officers it must have taken to decide that the UBC as an institution doesn’t really have to grant academic freedom to all its UBC Persons. How many institutional work hours were wasted over the past year so UBC officers could think they are getting away with improper conduct off the record?

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