THE UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE:

Abuse of the Concept
of Confidentiality


Misuse of “Confidentiality”

By classifying meetings as “board meetings” or “in-camera sessions,” I was informed that I could not speak about the matters being discussed. But I am speaking about them. And here is why.

These meetings are improperly classed as Board meetings, for these meetings have no agenda, quorum, or minutes, are not on the record in any way, and are not brought to the attention of the board as a whole. I believe that the characterization of these meetings as “board meetings” is solely for the purpose of then requiring confidentiality. I believe that this is a serious twisting of the principle of confidentiality, allowing to be done behind closed doors what never would be attempted in the spotlight of public scrutiny, where one might appeal to principles of due process and natural justice. There is no reason to label meetings with me as closed or in camera sessions, except to prevent me from speaking about the unfair processes that are being forced upon me. I have sometimes felt like a blindfolded boxer in the ring, where the only two rules are that I cannot remove my blindfold and I cannot tell anyone about being blindfolded. This cannot be condoned.

Further, the substance of these supposedly “confidential meetings” is spoken about outside of the context of the Board by the very people who are telling me I cannot speak about these matters outside the Board. If these matters are confidential, why is the President and Board Chair and Vice-Chair free to relay Board matters outside the Board but I am not—especially when these matters relate to allegations against me concerning which I am not given opportunity to defend myself, although I have explicitly and formally requested that opportunity.

I do not want any student, faculty member or staff ever again to be “taken behind closed doors” at this institution. We seem to be too untrained in (or uncommitted to) the principles of due process, fair play, and natural justice to have much faith in the outcome of such meetings.


— Tom Robinson
Professor

The University of Lethbridge



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EXAMINING ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS