An online petition is circulating asking for UNBC to reconsider its decision to appoint former Conservative MP and cabinet minister James Moore to Chancellor.
UNBC Geography Professor Catherine Nolin says the former Harper Government’s policies don’t line up with the university.
“The values of what a university is are at odds with this person’s experience and background. I really see that his appointment doesn’t reflect the ideals or aspirations of UNBC.”
James Moore was first elected to Parliament in 2000 at the age of 24, making him the youngest MP in BC history. He then went on to serve as as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the Secretary of State for Official Languages, Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics before becoming Industry Minister 2013.
He decided to not seek re election in 2015.
Nolin says that as a cabinet minister, Moore was a part of a government who promoted values that were against scientific inquiry, academic freedom and the promotion of science.
She says she is encouraged by the support the online petition has gathered so far
“People from across the country; alumni, students, faculty members, senators and so on. All urging a rethinking of this appointment, really people that support and love this university and only want the best for it.”
The role of Chancellor is largely ceremonial and will see Moore handing out degrees at convocation ceremonies.
UNBC Board of Governors Chair Ryan Matheson says appointing a former politician to a position like this was bound to create some controversy.
“SFU had the same sort of discussion going on when they appointed Carole Taylor as their chancellor in 2011. I really believe it’s a part of a good discussion and discourse of what the university needs to move forward.”
“As many people who are saying things on the negative side, there are also people who are in favour and have positive things to say about James.” Matheson added “I think we need to listen to our university community and we need to hear what they have to say to make the university better in the next 25 years.”
Matheson says the university is in the process in reaching out to some of the concerned faculty to make sure their opinions are heard. James Moore himself has also reached out to at least one professor who voiced concern early on.