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UPDATED: Science faculty pass non-confidence motion

The UNB science faculty passed a non-confidence motion against the UNB senior administration on Monday.

The vote passed with 41 in favour, 4 opposed and 4 abstentions. This is the third faculty on campus to pass the motion after the business and arts faculties passed their own in the last two weeks.

The science faculty passed the motion because they feel there’s a lack of transparency regarding UNB’s budget process and financial planning. Recently, UNB faculties were told they would face $1.2 million in cuts for the 2014-2015 academic year. Many faculties are arguing they cannot sustain any more cuts, and that university has strayed too far from its academic vision.

“There is no transparency in that budget process at all. And it doesn’t appear to us that it’s based on any kind of academic objectives,” said Cliff Shaw, chair of earth sciences and member of the UNB academic council. “It doesn’t meet the needs of the academic units and if it doesn’t meet the needs of those units, it doesn’t meet the needs of the students.”

While though all the motions that have been passed by faculties are non-confidence motions, they are not identical in wording. Each motion is tailored specifically for each department.

Shaw said the goal of their motion is to get some answers from the senior administration on their vision of UNB’s future.  He said faculties have been trying to get answers from the senior administration since January, but have yet to get any “coherent” answers from any of them.

“We’re a ship adrift at sea with no plan,” he said.

Though they might not lead to resignations, Shaw said if enough faculties pass motions, it will be something the UNB Board of Governors would have to address.

“I think that’s ultimately what we’re trying to do, to bring the attention of the Board of Governors to the problems we are facing in the university,” he said.  “And that these problems we don’t feel our current senior administration are addressing, or are even capable of addressing.”

Shaw said these motions are unrelated to January’s strike. Professors’ union AUNBT has had no involvement in the passing of these motions.

“These are a result of long-standing issues that the [faculty] chairs and other faculty had with the way the university is administrated,” he said. “And as we’ve started digging further into the finances of the university, we’re discovering more and more things that make us question whether or not they have the best interest of UNB’s academic programs at heart.”

The engineering and education faculties are expected to discuss and vote on similar motions on Wednesday.

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