Nov 052015

With thanks to Dean Daphne Taras:   Yes, you can circulate it.   (November 4, 2015 2:23 PM )

RESPONSE TO:  2015-11-02 LISTEN: Enbridge & U of Calgary relationship challenges academic integrity

—–Original Message—–

From: Taras, Daphne

Sent: November 4, 2015 10:08 AM

To: Edwards Faculty; Edwards Staff; Edwards Retired Faculty

Cc: Muzychka, Ivan; Hartshorn, Kent; Barber, Ernie; Stoicheff, Peter

Subject: Dean’s Remarks: University of Calgary and Donor Relations, Edwards School and Donor Relations


As most of you know, I launched my career at the Haskayne School of Business at University of Calgary and only left there in mid-2010 to become Dean of the Edwards School of Business. The recent extensive media coverage on the Enbridge-Haskayne School relationship — which many non-academics probably think is much ado about not much — is of great interest to university folk throughout North America. It is doing a lot of damage to the University of Calgary. I am saddened by that, because it all was quite avoidable.


Let me reassure you that there is not a single donor term or contract at the Edwards School negotiated under my leadership that would be problematic, and I know of no other terms before my time that cross any lines. I would happily go on record saying I have never fostered intrusive donor terms, and none of my donors — large or small — have ever intruded into academic freedom. I have never received a single phone call or email, or received a comment or piece of advice from any donor or prospective donor that has crossed a line. It is with considerable pride that I write this to you. If media attention should turn from Haskayne to other business schools across Canada, you can rest assured that nothing untoward will be found at Edwards.


Further, I do not sit on any paid boards, and any meagre consulting or honoraria income I receive is donated to the Edwards School in its entirety. I always disclose any consulting activity — regardless of whether it reaches the point of materiality — to the Provost


Since my arrival at Edwards I have repeatedly warned faculty and staff that conflicts of interest can bite, and there should be transparency about even perceived conflict or the potential for conflict. With the breaking news about Calgary, you can see why I have emphasized the importance of disclosure prior to making decisions so that appropriate discussions can occur, or firewalls can be built to protect all parties. This is not trivial.


There were two reasons I left Calgary to join the University of Saskatchewan. First of course was the match between my skills and the Edwards School. But second, I left Haskayne because the moral compass there was temporarily amiss. For those who really care about Calgary and its primary University, let me add that I have great admiration for President Elizabeth Cannon and Dean Jim Dewald. Under Dean Dewald’s leadership, I have seen a restoration of ethical decision making and I have great faith that he will guide that School responsibly and well.


The majority of our budget is from taxpayers and we are an expensive outfit, so we owe a great duty of care to the public. Often there is not a bright line between our activities and donor interests, which is why in our environment we need to be scrupulous. CBC media used Freedom of Information (FOIP) requests to obtain thousands of University of Calgary and the Haskayne School’s emails and documents. Such items cannot simply be deleted or destroyed. They live on. As we go forward, be aware of the damage that was done to University of Calgary, and continue to avoid subjecting the Edwards School to any risk.


And that’s all I wanted to say to you all this rainy morning in Saskatoon! To the best of my knowledge, we are clean and proud of it.


Daphne Taras, PhD

Dean and Professor

Edwards School of Business

University of Saskatchewan

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