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Riddle me this:

December 11, 2008

Here are two of the recommendations from the summary of the report of the bi-campus commission:

4. The original mandate of UNB Saint John in 1964 was to offer local access to university-level courses, and that has long since been achieved. The time has come to chart the course for appropriate future development patterns in both Saint John and Fredericton, and Commissioners say these new mandates should be fully in place no later than the 2012-13 academic year.

5. To help develop the new mandate for the Saint John campus, the Commissioners recommend that the University’s Board of Governors appoint a community liaison council, consisting of both Board members and an equal number of community leaders drawn from local government, business and the not-for-profit sector. The council’s recommendations would go to the full Board for approval.

Re. #4: UNB Saint John has achieved its mandate, and so presumably has UNB Fredericton though that is not specified; why do we now need new ones? Further, why the deadline?

Re. #5: If both campuses are to chart new courses, as #4 indicates — a radical suggestion, it must be said — where then is the plan for UNBF? Only UNBSJ is mentioned here.

Much more importantly, why should such a significant task be given to a group made up of so many outsiders? A group that will apparently be able to bypass the UNBSJ Senate, the only body with the right to make academic decisions for this campus? Surely of all the work to farm out, formulating the very purpose of the institution should be the last on the list.

And it wouldn’t be just any group, either. One only has to take a look at the outside organizations and individuals who made it their business to meet with the committee (look at Appendices J & K of the full report), some of the same people who had such interesting ideas for the campus last year, and it becomes all too clear who will be clamouring to be on any “community liaison council.”

To form such a council and ask it to “help develop” the very mandate of the campus, and to allow it to bypass the collegial governance on which universities are founded, would surely be as bad as anything Rick Miner wanted to do.

And that is saying a lot.

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