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UNBC must reverse its decision to appoint James Moore as Chancellor

This petition had 2,186 supporters

UNBC Board of Governors Chair Ryan Matheson

27 November 2015

Dear Mr. Matheson:

We, the undersigned, urge that the University of Northern British Columbia’s (UNBC) Board of Governors (the Board) reverse their decision to appoint Mr. James Moore to the position of Chancellor at the University. As a group of individuals with a deep and abiding concern for the reputation of this University, we feel it is our duty to point out that Mr. Moore’s background and qualifications are at odds with UNBC’s official description for the position of Chancellor, and that his installation in this key position would contravene the spirit, if not the letter, of the BC University Act.

The official description for the position of Chancellor at UNBC suggests that:

The Chancellor is a distinguished person with an exemplary record of demonstrated excellence in his/her chosen field and in public. The Chancellor is an individual whose reputation, relationships and experience help advance the University’.

In addition, a Chancellor,

exemplifies and symbolizes the University by his/her conduct and the standards he/she sets. The Chancellor shares the President’s commitment to equity, excellence and diversity’.

For over a decade Mr. Moore was a Member of Parliament (and held several prominent ministerial positions) in a government that did not celebrate diversity or the free and open exchange of ideas. That government chose instead to practice the politics of division and intimidation, and by its actions worked to undermine many of the core values that are pillars of universities in Canada and the world. This was a government that actively muzzled Federal Scientists, that steadfastly failed to take meaningful action to address global climate change, that stifled legitimate democratic dissent, that discounted the need for a Federal inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous woman, and which sought to exploit anti-Muslim sentiment amongst Canadians in order to bolster its electoral fortunes. 

As a Minister in that government, and as a member of the Conservative Party, Mr. Moore was responsible for supporting and upholding these policies, and there is no disputing the fact that he benefitted from them politically. In addition, Mr. Moore's own actions as a politician include efforts to stifle freedom of expression, displaying insensitivity to the plight of less fortunate Canadians, and exploiting the Terry Fox Foundation for political gain.

Following his decision in June of 2015 to retire from politics and until Election day, Mr. Moore did not criticize or disavow any of the actions or policies of the government in which he so loyally served. Indeed, Mr. Moore continued to actively campaign for his party and his leader up to the day before the election. By actively campaigning, Mr. Moore was, by definition, publicly endorsing the behaviour of his party and its leader. 

Like any University, UNBC must have a chancellor that embodies the values and beliefs of its core constitutes, namely its students, alumni, staff and faculty. Mr. Moore does not, in any way, fit this description. On the contrary, his own actions are decidedly inconsistent with many of the core values and principles embodied in UNBC’s mission statement and in its description of the position of Chancellor. It goes without saying that the reputation of any university is paramount to its integrity and its longevity. It is our firm conviction that Mr. Moore's installation as Chancellor would do grave damage to the reputation and the long-term welfare of this institution, and for this reason that we firmly reject his appointment by the Board. 

In closing, we feel it is our duty to remind the Chairperson and the Board of their statutory obligation under the BC University Act to act in the best interest of UNBC.  This obligation, in our opinion, includes the responsibility to refrain from any decision or action that would compromise the reputation of the University, and for this reason we respectfully request that the Board withdraw its endorsement of Mr. Moore's nomination for Chancellor of UNBC.  

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