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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

Political appointees want to gag college councillors

Through an unprecedented decision at the summer meeting, the political appointees on the College Council have indicated their intention to gag future elected councillors.

The appointed councillors have called on the Minister of Education to amend the Teaching Profession Act to require all council members to take an oath of office. They have also requested a legislative amendment that provides for the disciplining and/or removal of a council member. The appointed council has also requested staff to develop a protocol statement that requires council members to obtain permission from the council and/or chair/vice-chair prior to agreeing to make public statements about college issues.

These actions of the appointed councillors are clearly intended to keep councillors in line. If a councillor does not "toe the line" of the council or minister they could be disciplined or removed from office. Whatever happened to the idea of accountability to those you serve? If members are elected to the council, they should be accountable to the members who elected them, not the minister.

The B.C. College of Teachers has been in existence for more than 15 years. No oath of office, permission slip or fear of being disciplined/removed was required for elected and appointed councillors to discharge their responsibilities. What seems different now is that if a councillor doesn’t follow the agenda of the Minister of Education or the politically appointed councillors, they could be faced with discipline or removal from office.

– Mike Lombardi

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