Two new faculty reps elected to the UBC Board of Governors

Dr. Ayesha Chaudhry, an associate professor of Islamic studies and gender studies, and Dr. Charles Menzies, a professor in the department of anthropology, were elected this week as the faculty representatives for the Board of Governors. They will each serve a three-year term. 

Both Chaudhry and Menzies won by a majority, with Chaudhry receiving 196 votes and Menzies receiving 227. 

In his campaign, Menzies focused on the ideas of accountability, transparency and shared governance. Criticisms relating to these principles have been levied at the Board of Governors in the recent past.

“Our governors have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our public university,” said Menzies in his written candidate profile on UBC’s website. “The University needs a Board that is accountable, transparent, values shared governance, and is responsive to faculty, staff and students.”

Chaudhry chose to focus much of her campaign on the idea of social justice, specifically institutionally within UBC.

“I hold a core belief: social justice discourse must be reflected in structural change at all levels of society, or else it is meaningless rhetoric,” said Chaudhry in her candidate profile. “I believe that UBC has a unique opportunity to model this kind of meaningful social justice institutionally, and thereby become a national and international leader in setting a new horizon for structural change.”

Both Chaudhry and Menzies also want to focus on the issue of diversity in their time on the Board, specifically the more complex aspects of this issue. 

“We know that as a faculty, we do a really good job of … hiring people at the assistant professor level. But then we also know that there’s a really strong attrition that happens between the assistant and associate level, and then associate to full level,” said Chaudhry in an interview with The Ubyssey

“With the current Board of Governors, we have — due to the provincial government’s appointments — a very uniform viewpoint. So there is really very little diversity in perspective,” Menzies told The Ubyssey. “If you want a university based in innovation and creativity and the ideas of research and teaching excellence, one of the best ways that people found about developing new ideas is to not consult the same old team … [to] get some different perspectives for once.”

Chaudhry also emphasized the importance of not being tokenistic in diversifying the university. 

“This idea of diversity needs to be a real tangible thing beyond tokenism,” said Chaudhry. “If there’s one woman on a committee of 10 men, then she is now representing all women [and] you don’t want that.”

The three-year terms of Chaudhry and Menzies will begin March 1, 2017.