The Fairbairn motion related to the College of Medicine concept paper that was passed by University Council on May 17, 2012 is another example of the undermining of collegial self-governance and decision making. Against 100 years of collegial tradition, the concept paper was sent to University Council for a decision prior to input from faculty of the College of Medicine. Although senior administration claimed it consulted on this paper, representatives from the College of Medicine described this process as being more like didactic lectures than traditional collegial decision making.
Regardless of the final outcome at University Council and how we all feel about it, our colleagues in the College of Medicine should be commended. They held a special meeting of College of Medicine Faculty Council that rejected the concept paper, and they showed up in large numbers as observers at the May 17th meeting of University Council, along with colleagues from across the campus. These actions forced a last minute change to the motion before Council and sent a clear message to senior administration that faculty must be consulted.
The amended motion delays implementation from July 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013 allowing time for input into the details of the new governance model. We encourage College of Medicine faculty to continue to be actively involved in shaping the future of their College.
We also encourage faculty across campus to support faculty in the College of Medicine going forward. What has transpired here, the attempted implementation of a top-down plan for a college, could easily happen again. It is important for all of us to remain vigilant before all of our collegial decision making rights are lost.