Thompson Rivers University faculty and administration conflict too public for board

Image Credit: Thompson Rivers University

KAMLOOPS - The chair of the Thompson Rivers University board of governors would like to see the ongoing conflict between the schools faculty and adminstration move out of the media and into meetings.

Dr. Paul Dagg wants to see the issues between the university’s faculty association and administration resolved internally. He says the recent non-confidence vote by the faculty association in the school’s administration highlights an important issue, but thinks parts of faculty’s approach are inappropriate.

“I think to express concern is reasonable for a union to do so, but it’s not appropriate to target individuals,” he says.

In particular he says using the non-confidence vote to call out specific individuals and a recent meme campaign on social media were inappropriate.

Tom Friedman, the faculty association president, says the move to more public forums was a way to be heard.

“We felt our concerns were not being acknowledge,” he says. “We took to a more public venue to be heard.”

Friedman says the faculty association’s issues aren’t being acknowledged by the school’s administration, which is why the non-confidence vote was held.

He says it came two months after the ratification of a new labour agreement between the faculty and the school, which he says was accepted reluctantly. There are still issues that need to be addressed,and the time between the ratification and vote was intended to give administration a chance to signal it was going to change, he says, change that never came.

“We need to see a commitment, it can be in a closed door session, that administration is willing to acknowledge discontent among faculty,” Friedman says.

Dagg wants specific actionable items to come forward so the problems can be solved.

Friedman says actionable issues have been discussed with the university’s administration, and if Dagg doesn’t know about them there’s a communication breakdown.

“For Dr. Dagg to say they haven’t received specifics, I think it shows a lack of communication between the administration and board,” Frierman says.

Friedman says he has been trying to have a meeting with the chair of the board of governors for nearly two years, with Dagg and his predecessor. He says he was refused by Dagg’s predecessor and the faculty association is currently trying to get a meeting with the board.

The collective agreement was agreed to by the faculty association Feb. 12.

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