The chairman of the University of British Columbia stepped down temporarily in the heart of a dispute over academic freedom and transparency.
The board said it had accepted the request of John Montalbano to withdraw during an investigation to determine whether it has tried to muzzle a professor. In a press release late Tuesday, the board stated that Mr. Montalbano had to cooperate fully in the process and he wanted to ensure the integrity abandoning his chair as president.
Professor Jennifer Berdahl wrote on his blog earlier this month about the sudden resignation of the rector Arvind Gupta, saying, believing he had lost “a contest of masculinity.”
Ms. Berdahl is a professor of gender studies and diversity at the Sauder School of Business, a school created through a gift of $ 2 million from Mr. Montalbano, senior manager at the Royal Bank of Canada.
In a subsequent message on the blog, she recounted that Mr. Montalbano had reached by telephone and had accused the board to embarrass with his publication “extremely offensive” and “inaccurate”. She added that he had repeatedly mentioned during this call RBC, which finances some of its activities.
Ms. Berdahl argued that his superiors were accused of damaging the reputation of the school, and had discouraged to take the floor again.
Later Tuesday, the Faculty Association and the Board of Directors announced agreeing on a process of review to be conducted by a retired judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia Lynn Smith.
Ms. Smith must initiate its investigation on September 1, and submit a report by October 7.
Mr. Montalbano will remain a board member and Vice President Alice Laberge assume his functions during the process.