Angie Nikoleychuk Lethbridge 0

University of Lethbridge Students Have No Confidence in Senior Administration

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Dear University of Lethbridge Board of Governors and Upper Administration,

Over the last few weeks, we have seen the mental health of students drastically decline overall while substance use increases. They're worried about covid, the politics of covid, families and loved ones, losing jobs, feeding themselves, and keeping a roof over their heads. And now, they're forced to attempt to work under a University Board and Administration they no longer trust or have any confidence in.

Some reasons for this are as follows:

  • Refusing to bargain for more than two weeks (at the time of writing). The University, workplaces, and the greater community routinely expect students to find solutions and negotiate to come to agreements. The fact that senior administration is incapable of such is disgraceful and will cause irreparable harm to many students in the very near and distant future.
  • Failure to consult in a meaningful way with faculty, staff, and students on matters that directly affect them. Many of these decisions have had significant negative effects and done irreparable harm, without an apology or any desire to change.
  • Basing decisions on false and incorrect assumptions. Senior administration has failed to make an effort to get to know students and refuses to listen to them, in addition to multiple other issues and incidents on campus that have gone ignored. This type of authoritarian-like leadership goes directly against the promises made to students. Of note, it breaks "[The] promise to create an environment where professors and students are colleagues and everyone grows together, and an environment that recognizes the power of every student's dream. And helps that dream come true."
  • Making untrue, inaccurate, or misleading statements to students and the public. Not only do these statements misrepresent the faculty and bargaining, but it is harmful to the institution and its people. It sets a dangerous precedent and is in direct violation of the standards set out by university policies. And despite these issues being pointed out repeatedly, continue to happen and there are no apologies. Students at the University of Lethbridge will not tolerate this type of gross mismanagement any further.
  • The educational value provided by the University of Lethbridge is in steep decline. Constant upheaval, little notice prior to changes, no consultation, and a constant reduction in course offerings and research opportunities are no way to run a high-quality, destination research institution. It negates the world-class instruction the institution is capable of but refuses to provide.

These issues and others not listed directly put the lives and futures of many students at risk. The mental health of students and faculty is already declining, while substance abuse is rampant. Students and many others are tired of dealing with the stress and drama created by the administration and the Board with no signs of change and no faith that it will change. As a result, they are leaving. Students are embarrassed to tell others where they are being educated and deeply concerned the Board's behaviour will reflect negatively on them. And while administration and the Board of Governors may like to argue specifics and demand examples, students feel this would be asinine as the results would be the same.

The bottom line is this: Students no longer trust the University of Lethbridge. The environment is toxic, unstable, dysfunctional, and ruled by fear more concerned with cooling dissent rather than cooperation and opportunity.

We, the undersigned, can no longer rely on President Mike Mahon, Provost Erasmus Okine, and Vice-President of Finance & Administration Nancy Walker to deftly lead the institution forward. For these reasons, we demand letters of resignation for these individuals forthwith so that we can begin to repair the damage and the relationship the University of Lethbridge relies on for its existence.

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