Opposition is mounting against what’s become a controversial appointment of a former high-profile B.C. cabinet minister, as Chancellor of a B.C. University.
Last week The University of Northern British Columbia announced former longtime Conservative MP James Moore as the new ceremonial head of the University.
The position includes duties such as granting degrees at annual Convocation ceremonies.
But the move isn’t sitting well with some academics, alumni and students.
An online petition, which has garnered hundreds of signatures, is calling for UNBC to reverse its decision.
It says Moore was part of the Harper government that “actively muzzled Federal Scientists, failed to take meaningful action on climate change, and discounted the need for a Federal inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous woman.”
A hashtag on Twitter is also gaining traction, called #takebackunbc.
— Catherine Nolin (@cnolin) November 30, 2015
Faculty members join call for removal of Moore appointment
Faculty members are also calling for the decision to be reversed.
President of the University of Northern British Columbia Faculty Association, Stephen Rader, says former MP James Moore does not represent the values of the University.
“If environmental sustainability is something that is important to our University, we are Canada’s green University, than you want somebody who reflects those kinds of values. That isn’t something that James Moore represents in the public’s mind.”
Moore represented the riding of Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam for fifteen years before retiring from politics. He is now a Senior Business Advisor at the international law firm Dentons.
One former alumnus wrote an open letter to the UNBC Board of Governors asking them to re-consider the appointment.
But the university is standing behind its decision to appoint Moore as its new ceremonial head.
Board of Governors Chair Ryan Matheson says the decision is firm, despite mounting oposition.
“James is fully aware about that, the board is fully aware of the feelings of the faculty and some of the community members, but we also have members of the community and faculty that are in support of James Moore.”
“The Board gave strong consideration to all our constituent groups in making this announcement. It’s an honour to call upon a distinguished alumni member and a leader who brings a unique perspective of global politics, a perspective that has also been shaped by a distinct Northern BC experience. This appointment will help advance UNBC as we embark on our next quarter century of excellence in post-secondary education and research.”
UNBC’s announcement of the Moore appointment on their Facebook page was also met with critical comments: