Faculty association says UBC process flawed in dismissing professor Steven Galloway
Article and Photo from the Vancouver Sun
By: Tracy Sherlock
Published on: June 24, 2016
The University of British Columbia’s faculty association is criticizing the university’s process of dismissing author Steven Galloway, who was a tenured creative writing professor.
Galloway is no longer employed by the university after an investigation into allegations of misconduct. Further details were not released, but UBC said in a statement that Galloway had a “record of misconduct that resulted in an irreparable breach of the trust placed in faculty members by the university, its students and the general public.”
The university’s faculty association is taking issue with the process of Galloway’s departure, including an investigation by a former B.C. Supreme Court judge.
“The Faculty Association has serious concerns with the university administration’s misleading public and private comments regarding Professor Galloway,” the association said in a statement.
“We wish to clarify that all but one of the allegations, including the most serious allegation, investigated by the Honourable Mary Ellen Boyd, were not substantiated. Out of respect for fair and due process, a process which is ongoing, the Faculty Association will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.”
Hal Wake, artistic director at the Vancouver Writers Fest, also took issue with the way the university handled Galloway’s departure.
“In my opinion, the information that the university has provided publicly is partial, selective and intended to create a particular narrative,” Wake said. “I have concerns that the handling of the matter may have been deeply flawed. I would encourage the university to release the judge’s findings, with all due respect to privacy issues.”
He emphasized this is his opinion as a friend of Galloway and is not connected with his role at the Writers Festival.
The university has said it cannot comment further on the nature of the allegations or the investigation due to privacy concerns. It also said it would not comment on other people’s points of view about the process.
“These kinds of cases are always very difficult for everyone involved. The university acknowledges the community’s need for information and assurance that its processes have been applied fairly,” said Philip Steenkamp, UBC’s vice-president of external relations.
“At the same time, the university must balance the need to respect the personal privacy of both complainants and respondents and to provide them with a safe space in which to bring forward their concerns and perspectives.”
Galloway is the acclaimed author of The Cellist of Sarajevo and other novels and taught at UBC in the creative writing program, where he was the program chair since 2013.