[CAFR-L] U of L and political donations

Daniel O'Donnell daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca
Wed Jan 11 10:14:27 MST 2012

Good point John. I guess I should have said b) At least it stopped 
before the current administration. It was probably some brave soul in 
Accounting called them on it.

The first point remains: that it was going on at all is part and parcel 
of what I believe is a serious, systemic problem with rule-based 
governance in this University's Board and Administration. You don't have 
to be an ethics professor to see that there is something smelly about 
applying for reimbursement from public funds to cover political 
donations by an individual. Any senior member of the administration who 
is so ethically challenged that they couldn't see any issues with this 
in advance doesn't deserve to be in Administration. Any board that was 
doing anything like its due diligence would have dealt with the person 
involved as soon as they discovered what had been going on.

That the problem arose and that nothing was done, however, are direct 
results of what I see as this culture of fundamental disrespect for 
procedure and transparency. At a certain point the culture is going to 
have to change, if for no other reason that excellence requires 
transparency. Since there doesn't seem to be an explicit recognition on 
the part of the Board or the Administration that they have a problem, 
however, I suspect the collapse of the culture will be ugly: now that we 
have an opposition that knows how to use FOIP and get publicity for 
their research, any skeletons that exist are almost certainly going to 
be brought to light. I hope there aren't any more, but having watched 
this problem get worse over the years, it wouldn't surprise me if there 

I thought it was interesting, by the way, that this morning on the radio 
the PC party was busy hanging the U of L out to dry by arguing that they 
couldn't be held responsible for this kind of thing if the University 
was going to break the law by reimbursing people for their donations. 
You know you are in trouble when the Alberta Tories think you are maybe 
a bit too casual about following the rules.


Daniel Paul O'Donnell
Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4

+1 403 393-2539

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