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

Because Mark Crosbie ignored the dire warnings from the Respectful Environment Statement that stated he will be held to the expectations that he understood the whole story, it should be assumed he knowingly lied to the Law Society.

As someone who understood the why of institutional policies and the value of academic freedom in an academic setting, the only reason there wasn’t interpersonal conflict between the student and all her instructors was that the student understood there was going to be a boneheaded administrator who only had to hear “she didn’t like it when we treated her like shit” to dismiss my institutional complaint out of hand.

But it’s an all-new low for me to have a Director of a Law Society assume I would have naturally been upset at being treated like shit that they could dismiss a valid code of conduct complaint against a lawyer who failed to act in his official capacity to his institution.

If the UBC was a GallantU, I wouldn’t have ever had to think about it again. But instead, I spent the lifeblood of the past year elbows deep in policy for an institution I didn’t even work for to save it from itself. If I hadn’t, learners would continue to be harmed by an unproven methodology. “There are no rules” had two decades in the wild to create all the evidence it needed to prove it could be an effective method for the average learner. The average learner made up two of the three types of learners who were the vast majority of my MFA classes.

The UBC must return to being a public institution worthy of the billions of dollars it receives.

And maybe — just maybe — the bad actors will see justice while still UBC employees. The system had to the end of September to work. It did not. So here is UBCs dirty laundry.

If I can read policy documentation correctly (and I can) UBC has probably wasted more institutional funding to see if it could stop me from speaking the truth using my third-party knowledge to attach their actions to policies they signed off on.

That would be called an “action that violates a person in Canada’s freedom of expression” if it happened. And it would have been a request a UBC officer made as a duty of his institution. I made the board secretary aware of my foundational freedoms being violated by a public institution a month ago.

I assume they’ve done nothing about it, despite having the same legal expectation to serve the UBC’s interest as Dr. Ono allegedly betrayed. Hiding wrongdoing is never in an institution’s best interest. The Persons involved in the attempt to do so should be barred from ever holding a position in a public institution again.

They are not safe to occupy a position that uses public funds to pay any part of their salary. The vast majority of the students they would harm in those positions would not have my extensive third-party knowledge.

Unlike Mark Crosbie — whose job it was to know the law and his code of conduct equally — or Dr. Ono. — whose job it was to hold the institution’s interests above his — my former director was not one of the people who had to know better. In fact, I’d argue she was just doing what Dr. Ono’s administration trained her to do when her Dean asked her the true nature of my complaint.

The written policies of UBC make it obvious the institution expected her to tell the whole truth. The training she’d received the last time she’d violated a student’s academic freedom was that policies meant nothing if the consequences for violating them could be swept under a rug.

To be a better director of her program, her administration owed her the retraining to confirm she understood academic freedom and a respectful environment are required for their organization to function as a university that takes public funding.

If she’d apologized, it would have ended there.

I came to the conclusion on my own that I had enrolled in a program in which up was down and the sky was officially green despite its apparent blueness. If it wanted industry best practices phrased as an opinion, I was happy to type “I think” before “things should happen that matter to the character in this genre story.”

Which was only a comment I made in my first year when I still thought I had the freedom to comment on the craft of writing. It didn’t take me long to figure out that suggesting adding conflict would mean rewriting. Suggesting anything that involved rewriting had a strong correlation to the next appearance of a “be less craft-focused” email.

It will require more study to prove causation.

By the time I realized that no level of craft was ever going to be acceptable, I’d all but completed my classwork.

By the time I realized there never had been pedagogical support for the program, I’d completed my thesis.

By the time the Provost had clarified that yes, absolutely, the methodology was never intended never to teach a learner anything at a professional level, I was going to graduate in two months.

If I’d been aware of what kind of a program and university I had actually enrolled in, I would never have applied. If I had known my university didn’t understand it had any obligation to follow its own policies when I could have dropped out and gotten all my money, time, and mental well-being back, I absolutely would have.

But what Dr. Ono’s administration allowed itself to do to ignore its obligations to its own self-government should be put in lucite as a warning for all other academic institutions. Publicly funded institutions must be reminded that when it comes to institutional personhood, the meatsacks they pay have the same rights and freedoms as the meatsacks who pay them.

The policies make it clear that the School of Creative Writing could not be affiliated with the UBC if it could not respect academic freedom in its methodology. They are exceptionally clear the UBC cannot work with meatsacks who ignore their obligations to its stewardship.

The greatest obligation a public university has is holding its officers to the expectations of its students.

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