University Of Regina Board Of Governors Chair Paul McLellan Is A Very Confused Man, Please Give Him Some Space

Right on fucking cue:

If, as was approved in a council motion, there’s a request for publishing the salaries of everybody at the university, Paul McLellan wondered to what purpose this would be put? Would its release conflict with privacy laws? And isn’t much of this information – specifically, that covered by the three collective agreements for employees at the university: academic, support/maintenance and adminstrative – already available?

Holy crow. Look, dude, pardon my brusqueness, but I downed about half a litre of wine last night and so I do NOT have patience for your bullshit this morning. I am going to tear you to shreds in this post. I don’t know if you think a Twitter is something you put on breakfast cereal to give yourself more vitamins but if you do know what it is definitely don’t check mine this morning because after I finish this post I am going to be even meaner to you, and I promise that only part of it is because I am still angry that you never wrote me back after I gave you all of those nice letters. Although one of your representatives did invite me to ask permission to attend a board meeting and argue my case. After I graduated. And after I organized a sit-in and had security physically bar me from your boardroom. You make me furious.

First off, holy shit, were you busy playing Words With Friends when they sorted this all out? Item one, people would read those salaries, compare them to other salaries, and then try and figure out whether those salaries were proportionally fair and in line with the limited budget the university is able to access in this, probably the worst time for public universities since back when the biggest threat to their livelihood was Visigoths sacking them and burning down their library. Second, the release of salary information would not conflict with privacy laws; the president of the university said as much in response to someone asking that exact question. Do you not pay attention when Vianne Timmons is talking? That is very rude. Board meetings must be hell. I don’t know because I’m not allowed in them but now I’m imagining everyone throwing paper airplanes around while the three adults in the room try to sort out the horrible budget crisis facing every post-secondary institution in North America. No wonder you don’t want anyone else to see these meetings.

After the jump there is much more, because the Leader-Post piece goes on in this fashion for an incredulity-stretching amount of copy:

And if marketing – a frequent target of critics at the meeting – was cut, what would this mean for attracting new, tuition-paying students and communicating with alumni?

Here’s an idea and I’ve said it before: your best marketing is your university’s quality. Nobody picks a university because they see it on the side of a bus, that is what happens in screwball college comedies and we do not even have a fraternity system so that would never happen to us. There are other ways to do marketing that do not involve pricey advertising blitzes.

(Counterpoint: in an interview I did with him for my last published piece on the U of R, which I had to clip due to space & focus concerns, U of R provost Tom Chase credited the university’s marketing campaign in Alberta with helping to attract students from that province. Fair enough. Another great marketing campaign, though, is having a robust faculty in all departments that attract national attention due to the diversity and quality of their expertise. As a guy currently looking at grad schools and constantly talking to other Millenials about grad school, I can assure you that this form of “viral marketing” is very effective. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an ad for Concordia, for example, but I’ve had about eight people in the last calendar year explain to me that it’s a very good English program, pretty much apropos of nothing.)

And if the board and senior administrators – who, he pointed out, are academics who share their colleagues’ goals and ideas – took all the advice offered at the meeting, what would this mean for U of R employees covered under its other two collective agreements? They are support and maintenance personnel covered by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and adminstrative, professional and technical staff, who have their own union.

Some of them were there and were like, “We’re cool with it.” In fact, one of the students who stood at the mic and addressed this point was a Chartwell’s employee who said she is “extremely interested” in learning about faculty and administrative salaries, and is totally fine with people seeing how little money she makes compared to, say, a university VP responsible for marketing. Other government employees are subject to the exact same publication of information. Again, I have to wonder if you were paying attention during some of this? If you’re not, it’s cool, maybe you had to step out into the hallway to grab some Fritos. I understand. Fritos are delicious and it was a long meeting. You should maybe admit that you were grabbing Fritos if that’s what you were doing, though, because if you were not out of the room then you do not have much of an excuse for how badly you paid attention.

If it’s detailed financial information that’s sought, he wondered how detailed should it be?

I’m actually drinking now. You drove me to drink, Paul McLellan. How about all of it? It’s the 21st century. Your online budget package is essentially a series of cocktail napkins hastily stapled together and converted to .pdf. So much spending is unaccounted for. Here’s a fun fact for you, Paul McLellan, but also for other readers of this blog: Late last year, I asked the President’s Office for information on all of President Timmons’ travel in the last two years, with locations and total (not itemised) expenses. I was told I would have to fill out an Access to Information request. Information like that, Mr. McLellan, should probably be in this book, because it is totally insane that I have to file an Access to Information request to find out how President Timmons spent her travel budget, and also what her travel budget even is. That is not very accountable or transparent.

“Personally, if they feel the need for some more information, I’m OK with that,” he said in an interview Thursday. “There is nothing that a university does that needs to be hidden.”

Please read the preceding paragraph of this blog post, because apparently some folks in the administration of the university are not “on your wavelength”! Also, if the things you are confused about so far are any indication, you are also not “on your wavelength” and now I’m confused because I’m not sure how that kind of thing happens, where you say a bunch of things that make your position very clear and then you say another thing that contravenes literally everything you’ve said so far. Let’s move on because I am perilously close to the bottom of this wine glass and two glasses of wine does not a breakfast make.

And on top of all that, McLellan wondered, how can the wishes of students – who through their tuition fees pay a substantial part of the university’s costs – be taken into consideration?

Let them into your board meetings, for one thing. I want to shake you until your lapels come off.

[UPDATE/EDITOR’S NOTE: Whitworth here. Prairie Dog does not permit its writers to assault members of the community whose comments exasperate them. John was merely expressing his frustration in an idiotic way. He has no intentions of assaulting anyone. Sorry for the interruption]

The article – for which the Leader-Post‘s Will Chabun deserves serious accolades, because he mostly just lets McLellan use question marks like a big shovel with which to dig himself an an enormous hole – ends with McLellan expressing yet more confusion that people don’t seem to know about the Academic Program Review currently taking place. Let me help clear things up for you, Paul, because apparently I’ve been following this better than you despite the fact that I make pennies on the dollar what you make as president or CEO of several energy companies and have to do things besides retroactively hold your hand through a meeting that you and I both sat through two days ago in order to pay my rent. Do you have a nice house? I hope it does not have a lot of doors, because if one of them was open, you might spend hours trying to figure out where the “inside wind” is coming from. Anyway, people know about the Academic Program Review. Nobody is confused that it exists, although if they are, it might have something to do with how all the updates are tucked away in a corner of the university’s largely unnavigable website.

If people are confused about anything, it’s about merging, for example, the Fine Arts faculty into the Arts faculty, or it’s about the emphasis on vocational degrees while more liberal-artsy things get cut, or it’s maybe about (as faculty members and students I spoke to both emphasized) the way that a lot of standard departmental housekeeping – the cessation of certain programs and degrees due to a lack of enrolment, for example – seems to be pushed by the administration as the innocuous doings of the Academic Program Review in what a cynical observer of university politics might see as a bid to make deeper structural changes a bit more palatable because they’re lumped in with a bunch of ordinary doings. Those are maybe some things people are confused about.

It’s almost as if a bunch of appointed government flacks who get the privilege of meeting behind closed doors have no incentive to even be remotely accountable, attentive, or in touch with people, isn’t it? Paul McLellan, this was exhausting. I hope next time you will take better notes before talking to the Leader-Post about stuff. I don’t really want to have to do this again.

Author: Webmaster

The technical uberlord of the Prairie Dog website.

10 thoughts on “University Of Regina Board Of Governors Chair Paul McLellan Is A Very Confused Man, Please Give Him Some Space”

  1. Yes indeed, shananigans, douchebaggery and, dare I say more than a little Tomfoolery.

    As to the marketing budget: I suspect that much of this is going to marketing the University abroad — “visiting” students are a big money-maker. So is all of the lobbying to private enterprise investors — who, as it seems, really get quality return on their investments.

    More than a small sum of cash was spent [during the support-staff strike a few years back — I recall that many departments passed the hat around so that our much appreciated support staff would have something for their Kids around X-mas time] on a high-gloss campaign to re-brand the University with the “Realize” slogan.

    A lot of money is put into coupling of U of R with Vianne Timmon’s name and face…. [not yet re-named “Vianne Timmon’s University of Regina” — but, hey give it time]. Let’s not forget the numerous wide-screen TVs all over the place and seasonal posters that, for example, compare education to swirly & brightly colored soft-serve ice-cream.

    Lastly, don’t forget the big adds in University Affairs and the CAUT bulletin advertising “great” academic opportunities for prospective faculty.

    Yep, money well spent.

  2. Ask the prez about the gas heaters she had installed at her house last year so she could entertain outdoors.Paid for by the university and installed by university trades.Money well spent.

  3. Excellent point regarding foreign students, J.M. Mackinnon,

    Years ago, I sat in the English Dept’s tutor centre and tried to help foreign students get through their mandatory English 100/110 courses. I’m sure each of those students received every assurance that the Language Centre’s ESL courses would prepare them for the demands that their BSC/BEng courses would place upon them, when the bills truly came due.

    Such utter nonsense. A mercenary, venal and blatant attempt to draw foreign capital from the children of Asia’s nouveau riche.

  4. First off, the rules on the comments are somewhat ironic following this article as the same is most definitely “squawking” and couldn’t be further from enlightened discourse being that you feel it appropriate to childishly tag this under “douchebaggery.”
    I find it sadly pathetic that you spend time personally criticizing an individual who has spent countless volunteer time on various boards, committees and other roles over the last 20 to 30 years promoting the advancement and development of this province, and education in general. While I realize you’ve spent your last X number of years trying to be a thorn in the sides of difference makers and productive development, most particularly at the university of Regina, so you can go home at night to masturbate to the thought of almost being given recognition by someone that matters, others such has Paul McLellan have more wisely spent their time, efforts, experience and wisdom to actually make a difference in their communities. What you the writer fail to grasp is that political sarcasm, 300 followers on twitter, a rude parody account, and a glaringly obvious case of envy is not how one makes a positive impact in this world. Using ones sweat through hard work and philanthropy to gain the respect of those of similar high moral values to become a leader is likely a better route than being a drunk prick behind a computer.
    Allow me to provide you some insight as a person that has learned the value of respect and using my words and efforts in meaningful fashion. If you were a grown man that approached the situations in which you horribly failed at in the past with tact, clarity and without an inflated sense of self worth (as you shamelessly promote above) you may have actually been able to gain the admiration of the board who in turn would work with you. Sit ins, demands, propaganda and shouting in the streets were affective tools in previous generations for mass movements but when dealing with intelligent businessmen, maybe you should try a handshake and a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, your childish and ineffective past now leaves you with few allies and even less hope.
    I realize there is little chance that you will allow this post as it is littered with run on sentences and tangential critiques. However, in the very least hopefully it will stray your one track mind to perhaps letting those busy people run our first class institution and not have to be bothered by frivolous attempts for you to obtain an erection.
    Good day.

  5. Hi John,

    I apologize, but I must confess that I had completely forgot that personal attacks were your forte. It has been a couple years since your weapon of choice was the Carillon, but I’m glad to see that you are now using the Prairie Dog to stream your rants, while mixing in what seems to be large quantities of alcohol as ammunition to help get things off your chest. I must also confess that I am not surprised to see this type rant from the Prairie Dog (who once turned a fundraising event ran by business students for youth homelessness into a rant about how corporate Canada is “fucking wrecking the country”, oh and also attacking me for helping start a campaign against the CFS to ensure U of R students received value for their dollar), but to come out and publically admit your heavy alcohol consumption while expressing your desire to physically attack the Chair of the University of Regina Board of Governor’s while writing this blog can only further tarnish both your and the Prairie Dog’s questionable reputation.

    Being a two term University of Regina Senator, and former Vice-President of Student Affairs at the University of Regina Students’ Union I have worked many hours with the Chair, Paul McLelan. I can attest to his tremendous energy and commitment to the University of Regina and our community as a whole. While running a successful business that employs thousands of people in our province, he also spends countless volunteer hours to trying to build a strong academic institution that supports its students, staff, and the surrounding community.

    Under your leadership (as Editor in Chief of the Carillon, Student Newspaper of the University of Regina), you have made countless efforts to tear apart the University of Regina administration staff to achieve nothing more than your own self-gloat. Numerous personal attacks towards President Timmons, Vice Presidents, and student leaders have accomplished nothing more but inadvertently dragged your own name through the mud. However, I’m glad to see your graduated to bigger and better, more professional futures, with the Prairie Dog. John, I would love to say that it is time to grow up, but it’s painfully obvious that you are not ready to open your eyes and join the rest of us in what some refer to as the real world.

    Sincerely,

    TW

  6. It does not seem to take all that long before you get posts declaring the “intelligence, hard-work, integrity, etc..” of the glorious leaders does it?

    Two points: the entrepreneurial model adopted by the University is incompatible with the goals of offering high-quality learning opportunities for all students. Marketability is not, nor has it ever been, the index of what counts as valid and important knowledge. One need only consider the fact that geology, epidemiology, and micro-biology were all, at one point, considered purely academic fields of inquiry that were not terribly “marketable” kinds of knowledge.

    Second Point: The role of a University administration is to facilitate the pursuit of knowledge, not hinder it. The conflicts within the University of Regina are the result of the administration and B of G. pursuing goals at odds with the pursuit of knowledge. The long-term result of this conflict re. goals will be that the U. of R will become a largely irrelevant third rate institution and those students and faculty committed to serious scholarship will simply re-locate to better institutions. There are clear signs that this is happening already. I personally will encourage my children to attend a post-secondary institution that put the emphasis on quality rather than dubious claims re. marketability [irrespective of the “U of R guarantee”].

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