SAFS Letter To UBC Faculty Association

September 2015

20 August 2015
Mark Mac Lean, President
UBC Faculty Association
University of British Columbia
112 - 1924 West Mall
Vancouver BC V6T 1Z2

Dear Professor Mac Lean, I am writing as the president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship (SAFS), a national organization of university faculty members and others dedicated to the defense of academic freedom and reasoned and respectful debate. (For further information, please see our website at

Having read the UBC Faculty Association’s press releases of August 17 and August 19, 2015, and having noted the Faculty Association’s preference for “complete transparency” regarding recent events at UBC, I am writing to request information in response to the following questions:

(1) Prior to the Faculty Association’s call for the resignation of John Montalbano as Chair of the UBC Board of Governors, were any formal grievances filed with the Faculty Association alleging that Mr Montalbano or others have been involved in activities that have compromised academic freedom on the UBC campus? Have formal investigations into any such grievances been undertaken and completed? If so, what have been the findings? And if not, why has the Faculty Association rushed to call for Mr Montalbano’s resignation, as stated in your press releases, on the basis of what are, at present, merely allegations?

(2) In the Faculty Association’s press release of August 19, it is also stated that Mr Montalbano’s actions (for example, speaking with the press) have resulted in “established procedures” for the investigation of grievances being “compromised” and that “standard protocols” have been breached. Are you able to direct us to a written list of such procedures and protocols?

Thank you for your consideration of these remarks. We look forward to hearing from you. We will be pleased to post your reply on our website together with this letter to you.p>

Mark Mercer President
Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship
Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy
Saint Mary’s University
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5825
Cc: Lindsay Gordon, Chancellor, UBC
Martha Piper, Incoming Interim President, UBC
Angela Redish, Acting President, UBC
Board of Governors, UBC
Faculty Association, UBC