Fire CapU president, says letter

Former faculty allege a philosophical shift at CapU

A group of former Capilano University faculty members have signed a letter calling on the university's board of governors to fire president Kris Bulcroft.

The letter cites Bulcroft for "failing to provide the quality of leadership Capilano University deserves."

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After running into a $1.3-million operating budget shortfall, the CapU board of governors cut a number of non-degree granting programs from the curriculum in June including fine and applied arts.

The letter alleges Bulcroft has enforced a "philosophical shift" away from Cap being a place of comprehensive education for the North Shore, and that she has abandoned a policy of consulting with the Capilano community before making big changes.

Bill Schermbrucker, a former instructor, wrote the letter and 38 other retired profs undersigned it. "As faculty who are proud to have built an outstanding institution that functioned with a high degree of democracy, we strongly recommend that the board of governors remove Dr. Bulcroft from the position of president, and take the steps necessary to ensure that Capilano University appoints a leader who honours the culture and tradition of consultation, educational openness, and comprehensive curriculum offerings," the letter reads.

The letter is addressed to board of governors chairwoman Jane Shackell, who has since read the letter but doesn't expect the board will act on it. "I imagine that the board will have occasion to discuss the letter. I would be extremely surprised if the board were inclined to fire the president," she said. "The board has complete confidence in Dr. Bulcroft."

The axed courses, while valued by the community, were cut out of a financial necessity, Shackell said.

"I think it would be fair to say that everyone at Cap - board, faculty, staff, students, and probably the Ministry of Advanced Education as well, regret the fact that some of our programs were suspended in the spring as a result of insufficient funds to offer them this year," she said.

When the province reclassified Cap from a college to a university in 2008, it never increased its funding. On a grants-perstudent basis, Capilano ranks 24th out of 26 post-secondary institutions in B.C. at roughly $7,000 per student. Conversely, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology receives around $14,000 per student.

"We are anxious to work with the ministry as partners in this project to ensure students at Capilano receive an equitable share of provincial resources for advanced ed.," Shackell added.

As for the criticism that Bulcroft, failed to consult faculty members, Shackell said, "The budget last year received a thorough and detailed scrutiny by the senate budget advisory committee. The faculty had opportunities to provide input and they did so," she said.

Bulcroft was not available for comment according to CapU spokeswoman Jane MacCarthy.

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