Statement from Michael Korenberg

June 20, 2020

Board of Governors
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver Campus
2329 West Mall
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z4

Attention:  Sandra Cawley, Vice-Chair

Dear Governors,

Please accept this letter as my resignation as Board Chair of the UBC Board of Governors effective immediately.

In doing so, I acknowledge that, with my role as Chair and as a proud member of the UBC community, there comes great responsibility. Some of my interactions with social media have thoughtlessly supported regressive voices that are attempting to discredit broad-based, legal and necessary protest. As a result, my interactions have been interpreted in a manner that creates questions about who I am and what I believe in. I wholeheartedly apologize for them, particularly to the students, faculty and staff of UBC.

We are in a highly divisive time in history, when racism is on the rise, and innocent people are being killed. And, with two incidents in the recent past where racial profiling occurred on UBC’s Vancouver campus, it is especially critical for the entire institution to demonstrate its absolute commitment to our racialized faculty, students and staff.

I am very proud and feel privileged to have served UBC, truly one of the world’s great research universities, first as an adjunct professor in the Allard School of Law for 24 years, as a member of a Dean’s advisory Committee and, for the last four and a half years, as a Governor.

I am pleased that the University, during my time as Chair, has undertaken a number of important initiatives, including:

  • Pressing for Academic Renewal
  • Developing/adopting the University’s new Strategic Plan, Shaping UBC’s Next Century
  • Supporting the creation and launch of a new, aspirational Indigenous Strategic Plan
  • Increasing accountability and transparency, and improving governance of the Board of Governance and its Committees
  • Focusing on student financial aid and resources
  • Investing in critically important academic space, and student residences
  • Investing more resources in the University’s Housing Action Plan to improve affordability for faculty, students and staff
  • Supporting the implementation of a new Integrated Renewal Program and Application Ecosystem Program to replace UBC’s aged Finance, Human Resources and Student systems
  • Supporting the creation of a Sustainable Futures Pool and, ultimately, divestment

The diversity of UBC’s students, faculty and staff is truly one of UBC’s greatest strengths. I have said so publicly and privately, at all times, and have been an active proponent of continued efforts with equity, diversity and inclusion.

In stepping down as Board Chair, my objective is to allow the University to move forward with its commitment to achieving the priorities that President Ono has articulated, for which I have unequivocally supported. The best interests of the University require that the person who serves as Board Chair be embraced by the whole of the University Community, without any question as to their values or priorities. I do not want my social media engagement to define who I am, and will take care in the future to be more responsible and to maintain my full support of diversity and understanding in all aspects of education and to all other areas of life within British Columbia.

With that in mind, I reiterate my commitment to erasing racism, hate and discrimination from our society and our institution and I stand with all who oppose them.

Sincerely,
Michael J. Korenberg

cc: The Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills & Training