My school

I am happy that, more often not, stories in the news about Kwantlen Polytechnic University are inspiring ones: Truly innovative programs are launched; students and alumni break ground in business and nonprofit ventures and advocate for enlightened public initiatives; professors write books and articles and lead national and international conferences and research projects. That said, one can’t avoid the seemingly dismal display of financial (and other) oddities practiced by a (very) few of the university’s higher-ups in the last year or two.

From yesterday’s Vancouver Sun:

The former board chairman of Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been asked to repay thousands of dollars in unacceptable expenses, expensive wine, lavish meals and political donations.

Gord Schoberg, whose term as board chairman ended in the fall of 2013, said Friday he’d reimburse any disputed expenses dating back to 2011. The expenses are expected to total less than $10,000. …

[Among other items] Kwantlen [had] reimbursed Schoberg for two bottles of Glenfiddich 18-year-old scotch totalling $180, which were purchased at an airport duty-free store.

Schoberg said he bought the scotch as part of a professional development conference for the board. “Rather than having alcohol around the table, I’d invite the board colleagues back to my room for a drink,” he said.

Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson blasted the expenses, saying it is totally inappropriate for a school to spend money earmarked for classrooms and research on alcohol and party donations.

“Unreasonable or inappropriate entertainment expenses are definitely not to be paid for out of public funds,” he said.

I believe almost everybody knows that the *most important* Kwantlen story has been consistent for a very long time: It is a great place to be a student (and a professor). The hallways in the buildings on our four campuses ring out with learning, mentorship, creation, teamwork, and profound delight. It’s a blessed environment that supports our community and makes our future something to look forward to.

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