2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Verne Equinox

Board of Governors launches investigation into university’s relationship with Enbridge

By Fabian Mayer, November 17 2015 —

The University of Calgary Board of Governors (BOG) launched an independent review into its dealings with Enbridge to determine any wrongdoing. 

Earlier this month, a CBC investigation discovered that Enbridge gained considerable influence in setting up the Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the Haskayne School of Business. The pipeline company pledged $2.25 million over 10 years to the centre.

BOG member Mark Starratt said they have been listening to public reaction over the issue.

“The integrity of the University of Calgary is being questioned and we take that very seriously,” Starratt said. “Our intention is that this review will produce findings and recommendations that will address the questions that have been raised, and enhance transparency.”

Students’ Union president Levi Nilson welcomes the BOG’s decision to initiate a review.

“We’re very happy that there’s an independent investigation,” Nilson said. “The situation is obviously disappointing, but we want to make sure that the air is clear.”

Nilson hopes the questions surrounding Enbridge and the pending investigation will ensure that academic freedom isn’t jeopardized for corporate donations.

“I understand why they have such a close relationship with industry considering the budget uncertainty that we’ve faced for the past however many years, but I think that this is a stark example where it can all go wrong,” Nilson said.

University of Calgary Faculty Association President Sandra Hoenle has been one of administration’s harshest critics. She called the
situation appalling when the story first broke.

“Academic freedom is the cornerstone on which research and teaching rest. It is of concern that the president may have allowed a corporation to influence what research is done or how it is conducted,” Hoenle said. “A fully independent investigation is necessary.”

The Faculty Association and SU jointly issued a list of eight items they feel must be addressed by the investigation. Among their demands are determining whether academic freedom was infringed upon and examining whether university president Elizabeth Cannon acted inappropriately. 

Cannon was an independent director of the Enbridge Income Fund Holdings, a position for which she received an annual compensation of $130,500 in 2014. She has since resigned from the role.

The university announced on Nov. 18 that the retired Justice Terrence McMahon will conduct the independent review.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet