University defers transparency with its students

Capilano University has been accused of not acting in complete transparency with their students by members of the CSU executive. An ongoing Presidential Search for Capilano’s newest figurehead, which previously was deemed a confidential process, has now reached the stage where it can be opened to the public – however, the students’ ability to partake in the process was not announced.

Greg Lee, who has been the President of Capilano University (formerly College) since 1995, decided to retire this year. His retirement meant a Presidential Search Committee (PSC) had to be created, comprised of various interest groups who were entrusted to choose the most-suited candidate.

The fourth week in March signified the beginning of a series of public presidential forums, which were an opportunity for the public to go and pose questions to the presidential candidates. Although they were held at various times on different days, many of these times were during classes and most of those in attendance were Senate members or Faculty, not students.

Noah Fine attended the forums as the Capilano Students’ Union’s representative, and said that when he spoke with University representatives about the low advertising for the forums, they said that the CSU or the student representatives on the Senate should taken the responsibility to pass on the information to the students.

Fine, however, points out that the Board of Governors runs the presidential search, and as such it is their job to create awareness about their own event. The University gave the search a blurb on their website, but information about the public forums specifically were placed on Frontlines, a website only available to faculty and staff.

The Board of Governors has no policy about notifying students about these types of forums. The CSU Executive also pointed out that they do not have the capacity to contact students in the same way that the University does, as the University has the capability to mass-email its students.

Fine took it upon himself to inform the student population of the public forums, and put posters up around campus on March 24th.

The lack of advertising around the public forums could be accredited to a series of mis-communications. The Presidential Search Committee did not explicitly ask its student representatives to ensure that the public forums were advertised around campus, nor did they ask the CSU. Although there was some communication, much of it was informal, which is perhaps what led to the series of misunderstandings.

Staff representatives from the Board of Governors failed to respond to the Courier’s requests for comment before press time.

Two of the three final candidates were from out of town, so it is unlikely that more public forums with better advertising will occur before the Presidential Search Committee selects the new president of Capilano University, the final decision of which will be made on April 14th. The CSU has agreed to send a letter to the Presidential Search Committee and the Board of Governors detailing their concerns with the way the public forum process was handled.

//Samantha Thompson
assistant news editor

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