Board Chair Michael Korenberg resigns following criticism over 'regressive' liked tweets

UBC has announced that former Board of Governors (BoG) Chair Michael Korenberg has resigned after he came under fire for liking tweets criticizing anti-fascist and Black Lives Matter protests.

The June 20 email from BoG Vice-Chair Sandra Cawley said that Korenberg’s resignation is effective immediately. Cawley will be assuming the role as interim chair.

“The Board of Governors and Mr. Korenberg would like to recognize that this has been deeply hurtful to members of our community and that UBC has zero tolerance for racism and recognizes that real harm is created from both overt and structural racism,” Cawley wrote.

After student group Students Against Bigotry tweeted screenshots of Korenberg’s liked tweets from Republican and American right-wing figures, faculty and community members were quick to criticize him on Twitter.

Dr. Jennifer Berdahl, professor in the department of sociology, called for his resignation.

“The values a leader endorses both publicly and implicitly, and the messages those values send to the people who report to that leader and to the people in the broader community under and affected by that leadership, outweigh how the leader might make some people feel personally,” she tweeted the morning of June 20 before the broadcast email was sent.

Korenberg said in an interview with The Ubyssey on June 19 that he liked the tweets to save them to look at later. He has since unliked all the offending tweets.

In a media statement sent to The Ubyssey on June 20, Korenberg acknowledged that the tweets he liked "supported regressive voices and took aim at thousands of brave individuals who are standing up against racism, discrimination and hatred."

"While I do not support violence of any kind, I understand how my actions created questions about who I am and what I believe in. To be clear, I support Black Lives Matter and I support the de-racialization of our educational institutions and our country," he wrote.

"But I accept that, in liking these social media posts, I damaged what I support and that I hurt people. I wholeheartedly apologize to them, particularly to the students, faculty and staff of UBC."

In the broadcast, Cawley thanked Korenberg for his service. He was appointed to the Board in 2016 and was elected Chair in 2018.

Cawley also reaffirmed the Board’s commitment to anti-racism.

“As Board members, we must also hold ourselves accountable: the Board is committed to internal conversations about how to further these values in the coming months,” the email reads. "We are committed to personally addressing systemic racism and to upholding the values of the university including dignity, equity, diversity and inclusion."

This article has been updated to correct Dr. Jennifer Berdahl's title to 'professor.'