An organization representing almost 4,000 employees of UBC is seeking a "full accounting of the costs" associated with the unexplained departure of president Arvind Gupta.
In a memo to its members, the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff of UBC suggests that the "potential multi-million dollar price tag" for the continuing controversy could lead to cuts to staff on campus.
Issued by AAPS president Isabella Losinger and executive director Joey Hansen on August 20, the memo states:
Dear AAPS Members,
AAPS is concerned about the impact the resignation of President Gupta may have on you as part of UBC’s Management and Professional Staff group.
As the costs of Dr. Gupta’s resignation and the subsequent fallout continue to mount, AAPS is concerned what these expenses will mean for your workload, your job security, and your departmental budget. You are already being asked to do more with less, and the potential multi-million dollar price tag for recent events may mean further cuts. We are concerned that Board Chair Montalbano’s assurances to the public that neither students nor faculty will suffer as a result of these expenses may indicate that staffing positions will be cut to cover these additional costs. As you well know, Article 9 provides little job security for Management and Professional Staff. For those of you not familiar with the Article, it can be found here: Article 9.
We will seek a full accounting of the costs associated with the resignation of Dr. Gupta and the related fallout. We will also seek assurances that you will not bear the brunt of these costs.
Current and potential costs include:
- The Presidential search that recommended Dr. Gupta
- Dr. Gupta’s salary for the 2015–2016 academic year that he is on leave
- Renovations to the President’s residence
- The cost of terminating three Vice Presidents during Dr. Gupta’s short tenure
- Interim President Martha Piper’s salary
- Legal costs associated with the resignation
- Fees to Kirk & Company Consulting Ltd. (contract public relations services for UBC)
- New Presidential search costs
- Installation costs of the new President
- Loss of productivity and revenue as strategic decisions are placed on hold
- Staff time required to handle the resignation and the transition
- Potential loss of donor funds based on eroded public confidence
In the last two years, the BC Government has cut its contribution to UBC’s operating budget by $25 million. We know that many of you have been impacted by subsequent budgets cuts and are already working at or above capacity. Additional reduction in M&P staffing will have serious consequences for the university. In addition, a growing number of you work under a cost-recovery model where you are essentially expected to generate the funds necessary to pay for the costs associated with your positions. It is simply not acceptable to ask you to pay for the costs associated with a failed Presidency.
The UBC community deserves a full and clear explanation how these costs will be absorbed. We need to see a clear and workable plan to ensure this does not happen again. Most importantly, we need to see a plan to pay for these additional costs without simply assuming that Management and Professional Staff positions can be reduced without serious consequences to the university and students.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers has also called for Montalbano to "step aside" as UBC chair while the university investigates allegations that he violated the academic freedom of a professor who blogged about the president's abrupt departure.
Aaron Bailey, president of the Alma Mater Society, issued a statement today (August 21) declining to add the student union's voice to those want Montalbano out.