UBC Reveals Former President’s Travel Costs

The relationship between the students and faculty of an university is something that is at times edgy, and I dare say tenuous. This is something natural of course as the hierarchical system is in a constant apprehensive state. Any student will tell you that at one point he or she has been fully frustrated at the faculty, or at least a part of it. The same could be said of the faculty which is surely at times crabbed at the student body. Yet, there is hope of  amity- at least a step in the right direction.

The University of British Columbia, located in Vancouver, Canada, has made public the total travel expenditures of its former President, Stephen Toope, in hopes of further  promoting an environment of transparency amid faculty and students, the university’s paper reports. 

The President who spent $168.000 in travel expenses left the country monthly to various places around the world and managed to raise 33 million dollars in funds. Toope, a law professor has acted as the university’s eldest statesmen whose responsibility was to represent the University at a wide array of different events and gatherings, which also served as grounds for fostering donations. This is the first time that a President’s travel expenses have been made public at UBC. 

You might ask yourself at first what the importance of this is, especially when you might have not even heard of UBC before. Well let me tell you. 

The fact that a university has gone this far to publicize its administrations’ expenditures shows its stark commitment to the fostering of an environment of trust between the students and faculty. The bottom line is that when students pay tuition fees, they truly want to know where that money goes, and an action of this kind is definitely a step in the right direction. 

Toope’s expenditures might seem at first a bit steep, but once we understand that his trips to 51 different places have served UBC, and each and every one of its students, it does become justified. Perhaps it can be explained best in what Mr. Spothelfer, Vice-President of Communications at UBC, said to Globe and Mail‘s Justin Giovanetti:

“Making a significant donation to the university is a very personal decision. Sometimes it takes the president, face-to-face, to close the deal,” (Source)

The truth of the matter is that I as a student at the University of British Columbia find such actions and initiatives by the administration worthy of praise, despite the increases in tuition we all have experienced. To build a university of such pristine quality requires expenditure- an ultimate truth that applies for each individual student, as we as the entire foundation and system. 

UBC’s world rank of 31 is something that requires a great deal of work, and also money, such as the 33 million that Toope raised. Thus, if there is one thing to be learned from UBC’s decision to release such information, which they are not legally bound to do, is perhaps that the trust between students and faculty needs to first be established within an environment of veracity. A lesson which I hope will be diffused around Canada, as well as around the world.