Steven Galloway awarded $167,000 in damages from UBC over privacy breach

Former UBC creative writing chair Steven Galloway has received $167,000 in damages following an arbitration process between him and the university. UBC has accepted the decision, according to a statement from VP External Relations Philip Steenkamp.

The decision, which was made by an independent arbitrator, found that “certain communications by the University contravened [Galloway’s] privacy rights and caused harm to his reputation.”

The UBC Faculty Association initially filed two grievances on behalf of Galloway: one regarding the infringement upon his privacy rights, filed in December 2015, and a second, brought forward almost eight months later, contesting the termination of Galloway’s appointment after it was announced. However, the Faculty Association withdrew its claim for Galloway’s reinstatement in February 2018.

“Our fundamental role in this regard is to ensure that all members receive fair and due process and the protection of their rights in any proceedings conducted by the University,” the Faculty Association said in a written statement to The Ubyssey.

Galloway was first suspended from UBC in November 2015 for what the university called “serious allegations” related to an affair with a student as well as reports of sexual and professional misconduct. The university’s statement, attributed to Steenkamp, called the situation an “irreparable breach” of trust, but did not elaborate.

Galloway was later fired in June 2016. In response to his termination, the UBC Faculty Association published a statement which took issue with what they called the “University Administration’s misleading public and private comments regarding Professor Galloway.”

In November 2016, Galloway admitted to the affair with a student in a statement made via his lawyer, but noted that the other claims, including one of sexual assault, were not substantiated based on an investigation conducted by former BC Supreme Court justice Mary Ellen Boyd. Boyd did find that Galloway engaged in inappropriate behaviour by having a two-year affair with a student during his professorship.

In the same statement, Galloway's legal counsel sharply criticized how UBC handled his termination.

“The matter continues to have tragic impacts for all persons involved,” reads the statement from Galloway’s lawyer. “It provides a signal example of how specious rumours and speculation arise from innuendo and miscommunication.”

This article has been updated to clarify that UBC's November 2015 statement was attributed to Steenkamp after his appointment on December 1, 2015.