Selection of an academic staff member to serve on the board (26 May 2016)

The university secretary just posted online a new document titled, “Carleton University Board of Governors candidate selection process for academic staff governors on the board for the 2016/17 board year” (here or here). This new document has never been approved by the full board.

This new document states that, “The decision of the University Secretary in any matters including without limitation regarding validity of nominations, voter eligibility and verification, disqualification and tabulation of returns shall be final.” The board’s procedures and bylaws do not confer such powers on the university secretary. Lack of an appeal process is virtually a guarantee that due process has been discarded.

This new document states that, “Should you decide to use campaign material (i.e. posters, social media, etc.) it must be submitted to the University Secretary for approval PRIOR TO BEING used.” [caps in original; comma missing from original]. The board’s procedures and bylaws do not confer such powers on the university secretary. Censuring of campaign materials violates academic freedom provisions of the academic staff’s collective agreement.

This new document states that, “Any incomplete Expressions of Interest or those submitted after the deadline will not be considered.” The board bylaws and procedures do not require this Expression of Interest document.

This new document states that, “Campaigning on a slate or with a platform is prohibited.” The board’s procedures and bylaws do not stipulate this prohibition. If you cannot campaign on a platform, then what can you campaign on? This new document then requires a photo to be supplied by the potential candidate prior to election. Therefore, campaigning devolves into nothing more than a beauty contest.

This new document states that, “The following services will be made available to all candidates, at no cost to the candidate, but at the discretion of the Chief Electoral Officer”. Nowhere in this document nor in board bylaws nor procedures is it specified who the chief electoral officer is or even that such an officer exists at the university. Also, how is it fair that some receive resources, while potentially others do not?

Given that this new document was never approved by the full board, it is incumbent upon the board’s executive to show that they approved this document. The recently approved Appendix A to the bylaws implies that executive committee minutes must now be made public. In the event that the executive committee has not yet approved this new electoral document, the academic staff should convene their own election.

It is no wonder that most of the Carleton University community has lost confidence in its board of governors.

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