Volume 93, Issue 37

Thursday, November 4, 1999


Students charged for opt-out

Martin talks money

Biotech receives $20 million fund

Wearing two hats worries teaching association

LSAT's day in court postponed

U of M tenured prof grieves his June dismissal



Caught on campus

Wearing two hats worries teaching association

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Canadian universities who have senior directors simultaneously sitting in the corporate boardroom are coming under fire for linking schools to big business.

David Robinson, director of communications for the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said a comprehensive report compiled by the CAUT was published in an attempt to shed some light on the corporate affiliation of those who sit on the Board of Directors of Canadian universities.

"It was put together to show how university administrators are becoming less accountable to the public, but more accountable to the private sector," he said.

Over 850 corporations are represented on Canadian university Boards, Robinson said, adding the report was released last Friday as part of an international conference in Ottawa.

Although no members of Western's senior administration or Board of Governors sit on any corporate boards, Western's VP-external Ted Garrard defended the links between corporations and university decision-makers. "We're not precluded from sitting on corporate boards. But when we recruit Board members, we don't recruit on the basis of which organizations are represented, rather as individuals," he said.

Garrard said Board members must declare conflicts of interest and pull away from the table if conflicts arise when decisions are being made. "If, for example, we have someone from Bell Canada [on the Board] and we're awarding Bell as an organization, that member would have to declare conflict of interest."

SzeJack Tan, University Students' Council president, agreed a conflict of interest could easily arise and it was appropriate for Western to have a policy in place for such incidents.

But Tan said Board members who simultaneously held positions with large corporations did not necessarily bring any benefits the university community does not already have. "Universities in general have a lot of links regardless," he said and explained alumni and faculty communities were great sources of information and contacts.

Corporate links provide the university with contacts and information, Garrard added. "I wouldn't make a direct correlation between mutual gains to be made from corporate links to universities," he said.

According to Robinson, the Royal Bank of Canada had the biggest presence on university Boards of Directors across the country with a total of 13.

Jackie Tuffin, spokesperson for the Royal Bank of Canada, said universities benefit immensely from their affiliation with the bank. "We contribute a great deal of money," she said.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999