Notes on a Farce

The Ubyssey has a great, absurd write up of the great, absurd experience of finding out today that the university’s Board of Governors was having an unannounced meeting taking place entirely behind closed doors. Typically, the Board only meets five times a year, so having two unannounced meetings in under two weeks is very unusual, especially when the president of the institution “resigns” effective immediately on the same day as one of them, and the other takes place the very next morning after a professor makes very public accusations that the Chair of the Board was trying to silence her. The Ubyssey story and tweets from @UbysseyNews and @UBCInsiders provide a play-by-play that I won’t rehash. But before the thoughts disappear, a few additional notes to flesh things out and to make sure they are recorded.

  • From a vantage point outside the meeting room, today’s secret Board meeting was a disrespectful farce brought to you by a bunch of people who seem to think they’re the smartest people in the room, and that everyone else on campus is a complete fucking moron.
  • At one point, Board Secretary Reny Kahlon tried to convince everyone waiting outside the room to go downstairs. Her reasons for requesting the move were never specified. Turned out the reason she wanted everyone gone was because John Montalbano would be walking across the hallway into another room to take a conference call and she didn’t want anyone there to witness him walking by for 3 seconds. No detail is too small to spark some attempt, usually unsubtle, by Reny to exert control and dominance over others. She had us move our seats by 10 feet. She “joked” that maybe it was the Ubyssey reporter who had pulled the fire alarm at the Alumni Centre. She said the meeting would be over in 5 minutes multiple times, for many hours in a row. On the receiving end, it feels like a bunch of petty bullshit designed to throw people off-balance instead of normal, respectful human interaction.
  • In no particular order, the following governors were spotted today coming out of the Board meeting at one point or another: Lindsay Gordon, John Montalbano, Anji Redish, Celeste Haldane, Kenneth Fung, Darrin Lehman, Richard Johnston, Alan Shuster, Shannon Dunn, Darran Fernandez, Greg Peet, David Sidoo. No student governors appeared to have attended in person.
  • On the executive/administration side, Lisa Castle, Adriaan de Jager, Hubert Lai, Susan Danard, and Martha Piper (only ~80% sure it was her, she disappeared quickly) were there as well.
  • Judy Kirk, eponymous head of Kirk & Co, a public relations firm, was also there, a fixture at UBC anytime they are in need of damage control.
  • Here’s footage of John Montalbano saying “After the Board meeting, I’d be happy to speak” After the Board meeting, he was of course not happy to speak. So not happy that they tried to create a distraction that would allow him to leave without talking to anyone. Then, when caught by a reporter said “Right now, at the moment, I’m not prepared to speak.” Then, because he apparently thinks we’re idiots, he can’t resist saying at the end of the clip: “I’ll be prepared to speak to this tomorrow.” Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.

Stay tuned tomorrow for some more World-Class, Open and Transparent leadership from John Montalbano and the UBC Board of Governors.


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  1. I eagerly await the next instalment of this extraordinary and indeed riveting narrative. None of us should ignore what is being said (or not being said) here.

    Posted by Peter Quartermain | August 18, 2015, 3:42 pm
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