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Diane Davidson bars student Senator from VP Resources Selection Committee

September 11, 2011

From: Joseph Hickey
To: VP Governance Diane Davidson
Cc: Members of Senate, concerned community members, student media
Date: September 11, 2011
Subject: Re: Your candidacy for the Selection Committee of the Vice-President, Resources

Dear Ms. Davidson,

I received your email of September 6, 2011 (below), barring me from the Selection Committee of the VP-Resources.

The Procedures do indeed state “in a program of study at a level other than that of the member of the Board of Governors”.

However, the Procedures do not define the “level” of a given program of study, nor do the Procedures indicate who has authority to interpret the language of the Procedures.

Surely, we must appeal to logic and to the common meanings of words in this context rather than allow the university administration to make arbitrary interpretations that could be seen to be intended to bar a certain student from the Committee.

And if we cannot agree on logic and common meanings, than surely it is the nominating body (the Senate in this case) that should make the language interpretation in view of selecting its candidate for the Committee, rather than allow the administration to engineer the result.

Now turning to logic and the common meaning of “level” in this context, if the Procedures were meant only to resolve “undergraduate” and “graduate” programs of study then it would have been stated as such rather than use a term that implies relative position or rank on a scale, not a binary classification.

In the present case, the BOG student is a Ph.D. student whereas I am an M.Sc. student. These two degree stages are clearly distinct and have different academic requirements as regulated by provincial standards. They are unambiguously resolved as different “levels” of a study program.

Therefore, please stop interfering with collegial governance and let the Senate choose its student representative without colour of bias and arbitrarily imposed constraints from the administration.

I will do everything in my power to stop your unjustified interference.

Sincerely,
Joseph Hickey
Graduate student representative to Senate, Sciences section

Cc: Members of Senate, concerned community members, student media

From: VP Governance Diane Davidson
To: Joseph Hickey
Date: September 6, 2011
Subject: Your candidacy for the Selection Committee of the Vice-President, Resources
a
Dear Mr. Hickey
a
I note that you expressed interest in election as a member of the Selection Committee of the Vice-President, Resources.

Section 1 of the Procedure for Appointing a Vice-President (link) states the following:

“ To appoint a Vice-President, the President creates an eight-member selection committee consisting of:

1.      the President, who chairs the Committee, without voting right;

2.      three members of the Board of Governors, appointed by the Board, one of which will be a student member of the Board of Governors;

3.      three Senate members, appointed by the Senate, one of which shall be a student member of Senate registered in a program of study at a level other than that of the member of the Board of Governors; and

4.      one person from outside the University of Ottawa, invited by the President and recommended by the Joint Committee of the Senate and the Board of Governors.”

At its meeting of August 9, 2011, the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors appointed Ms. Erika Arban, graduate student on the Board of Governors, to sit on the Selection Committee. As a result and in accordance with section 1(3) of the above procedure, only student Senators in a program of study at the undergraduate level are eligible to sit on the Selection Committee.

Thank you for your interest in participating in the Selection Committee of the Vice-President, Resources.

Regards,

Diane Davidson
Vice-President, Governance
University of Ottawa

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