Press release rules out controversial arrangement with Hebrew U, and study tour
A group of local concerned students, faculty, and community members under the banner of “Coalition for a Free Palestine” held a rally at the University of Regina today. Those on campus saw upwards of 50 people start the rally in the Riddell Centre, and then move to Dean of Business Andrew Gaudes’ office, eventually ending the rally on the 5th floor of Administration Humanities, in front of the President’s office.
The office was closed during the rally. There was nobody from the Administration available to give comment right away(see press release below). Gaudes was also out of his office, with the Faculty of Business office door firmly locked.
The Coalition to Free Palestine is concerned with the U of R partnering with Israeli institutions, which the U of R has been recently pursuing, specifically with Hebrew University. Any talks of a relationship with Hebrew University seem to have stopped now.
Dean Gaudes told the Carillon here that “we do not have any relationship with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We have explored it as having courses being delivered with our students in it; that’s been in the past that we explored that. We have found nothing that is consistent with what we want to deliver with our MBA Public Safety, and we don’t think we’re going to see one.”
The Carillon has tried to reach Hebrew University to comment, but no one has been made available for an interview yet.
For the initial story that the Carillon broke, click here.
Valerie Zink, one of the Coalition’s organizers, said that ““The partnership with Hebrew University was the one that was in the most advanced stage of development. Dean Andrew Gaudes has made statements to the media that the partnership is no longer being pursued. To me it’s obvious that is because of the growing public opposition. However there are still 5 universities that are being considered for a study tour as part of Israel’s MBA public safety.”
The Coalition was also concerned about a potential study tour that would have been in both Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The Administration and Andrew Gaudes released a statement today ruling out both the partnership with Hebrew University and the study tour.
The release, signed by Gaudes, says “we did have some preliminary discussions about our students being able to take courses for credit at Hebrew University. Although these talks were undertaken in good faith, we are no longer pursuing such an arrangement, as the course content offered by Hebrew University did not meet our program needs.”
“We are also no longer pursuing a study tour in the region.”
It goes on, saying that “It is critical to note, however, that even if either of these options had been pursued further, subsequent approval of the agreement would have included faculty input, collegial votes, and consideration of the concerns expressed, particularly those pertaining to the safety of our students.”
Provost Thomas Chase, who was in meetings during the rally, met with organizers later. He said, in the same release, “”This afternoon I had a good meeting with representatives from the group that held the rally. It was a collegial discussion, and I appreciated their input. Although our University has had discussions with Israeli institutions in the past, I am aware of no current or ongoing talks.”
Members of the Coalition and other concerned faculty are meeting with Dean Gaudes on August 12th to discuss the ethical framework as well as partnering with institutions.
The Carillon will have more on this story as it develops.
**UPDATED August 11th 11:35:
Below is the full Press Release sent to the Carillon by Senior Communications Strategist of the U of R Dale Johnson. The document is written by Andrew Gaudes, the Dean of Business. We are posting it because of demand, and to provide clarity to our readers. The following text is copied verbatim from the email sent out earlier today. No edits have been made:
A statement from the Dean of Business Administration
I am writing to clear up some misconceptions on our University’s relationship with Hebrew University in Israel.
A few details need to be absolutely clear to all parties:
1. The safety of our students is our first priority.
2. There is no partnership or any type of formal relationship between the University of Regina and Hebrew University in Israel.
3. The Faculty of Business Administration has never had any plans to create a joint MBA specialization in public safety management with any other university.
4. There are no current or planned discussions with Israeli universities.
The Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business, within the Faculty of Business Administration, is currently developing a new MBA specialization in public safety management, but it is not a joint venture with any other institution. This specialization is in response to requests from the community for strengthening administrative leadership capacity among middle managers and executives in the RCMP, Police, Fire, and other Emergency Services organizations in Canada. The program is being developed so that all courses may be delivered by our University on our campus.
Developing such a program includes a multi-layer approval process with many opportunities for offering input or expressing concerns. Creating a new graduate program at the University of Regina requires approval at the faculty level, followed by approval at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR). Once these approvals are in place, FGSR must recommend the program to Executive of Council for their recommendation to the highest academic decision making body, the University of Regina Senate, for final program approval. Only after approval at each of these stages are we able to offer the program to prospective students.
As a Faculty, we are continuously exploring educational opportunities for our students to study abroad. Discussions of this nature are constant and ongoing. As a University we do not agree with a blanket exclusion of Israeli institutions from these types of conversations. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the national body representing 97 universities and colleges in Canada, takes a similar position. In fact, in July 2013 the AUCC signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Association of University Heads, Israel (AUH) aimed at increased collaboration on research and teaching. The AUH includes Hebrew University.
In keeping with the spirit of this MOU, we did have some preliminary discussions about our students being able to take courses for credit at Hebrew University. Although these talks were undertaken in good faith, we are no longer pursuing such an arrangement, as the course content offered by Hebrew University did not meet our program needs. We are also no longer pursuing a study tour in the region. It is critical to note, however, that even if either of these options had been pursued further, subsequent approval of the agreement would have included faculty input, collegial votes, and consideration of the concerns expressed, particularly those pertaining to the safety of our students.
The intent of any of our study abroad opportunities is to enable our students to benefit from seeing the world from different vantage points, enriching their academic experience, and enabling them to make better, informed decisions as they become senior managers. Our strong belief is that hearing from a multitude of perspectives will make our graduates better leaders.
We also appreciate the multitude of perspectives on our campus and the dialogue that has taken place over our discussions with Hebrew University. We recognize the right of students and faculty members to speak freely and critically about new and existing program offerings. Free and open debate makes us all stronger. As we endeavor to strengthen the student experience in the Faculty of Business Administration, we will remain cognizant of the concerns expressed on this particular issue and remain committed to consulting thoroughly and collegially on decisions of this nature in the future.
Dr. Andrew Gaudes
Dean and Professor of Business Administration