University of B.C. chairman says he didn’t threaten to pull professor’s funding

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The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER: A key player in a public battle about academic freedom at the University of British Columbia says he’ll remain chairman of the board of governors and that a critic should file a formal grievance.

The clash between John Montalbano and Prof. Jennifer Berdahl erupted after she blogged that former president Arvind Gupta “lost the masculinity contest” before quitting on Aug. 7.

The faculty association is demanding answers about Gupta’s resignation but the board of governors has stayed mum, citing confidentiality.

Berdahl alleges in another blog that her superiors criticized her for “embarrassing” UBC’s governors and tried to silence her, while the faculty association says it has lost confidence in Montalbano.

Montalbano says he didn’t ask Berdahl to retract her blog or threaten funding for her position and that he didn’t intend to impinge on her academic freedom.

He says he has invited Berdahl to grieve the issue under the collective agreement to determine if her allegations are valid.


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