On standing for election to the UBC Faculty Association

I am a 12-month Lecturer in the Department of French, Hispanic & Italian Studies at UBC Vancouver, where I have been since 2009. Before then, I taught at University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin (Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), and Princeton University. My teaching here at UBC includes French language, Francophone literatures and cultures, and Medieval European studies; and my research work is in Medievalism.

As a Medievalist and a philologist, I’m interested in history and meaning, and their protection and preservation. For example: The Faculty are—historically, philologically, legally—The University. Or rather: The University, as a corporate entity, is its faculty and students. It is not a technical training college, or a business school (nor indeed any other single school), or a hedge fund. It is a collective of individual persons in all their Faculties, Schools, Programs, Libraries, and Archives. I am standing for election as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee of the Faculty Association because I would like to serve the interests of The University as such: as a collectivity, working together associatively, a harmonious union of faculty across their organisational divisions. This harmonious union (as distinct from unison) is a diverse multiplicity and a fragile diverse ecosystem. It includes members of the academic precariat and other marginalised minorities: yet, working together collegially, neither minority nor marginal. “Faculty association” also means alliance and advocacy: by, with, and for one another; together; in a culture of mutual aid and cooperative support.

Back from abstractions and sophistry to solid work. I also do first- and second-year advising and course coordination in my department. My day-to-day work therefore includes working with many kinds of people who teach here at UBC, from new graduate student TAs to full professors, including faculty of all ranks: and doing so not in competition and conflict but as colleagues and cooperative peers. We talk about what is working and what isn’t, about what could be improved and what we can do to improve working conditions and collegiality. It’s in part from these conversations that I would like to do what I can to help my colleagues more; by standing for election. I have been involved with unions since I was eleven (in Belgium, where I grew up, student unions include secondary-level student unions too); I value this opportunity to continue that involvement and to do more to help make UBC a better and happier place for all.

Since September 2015, I have also been increasingly involved with intersectional social justice advocacy such as the UBClean grassroots movement which led to a Faculty Association vote of no confidence in the UBC Board of Governors (for which I was a second), feminist and anti-fascist online activism, and the UBC Steering Committee on Sexual Assault. Much has changed in our world since the last Faculty Association elections: but how far has UBC? How equipped is it to be a sanctuary university, a Popperian open society, an ethical exemplar, and a futuristic model sustainable environment? And how can our Faculty Association contribute: critically, creatively, and constructively?

c.1295 Paris version of La Somme le Roi (BL Additional 54180)



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