7 April, 2014

It is with great disappointment that I issue this statement to inform you that I will not be able to assume the post of president at the Canadian University Press. I would like to emphasize from the beginning that this was a decision undertaken by the CUP Board of Directors, without my endorsement or support. I will outline further as to the circumstances shortly.

As you are all aware, the Canadian University Press (CUP) has been in the midst of a financial crisis. CUP officials will no doubt issue statements in the near-future stating that the decisions they have made today are a direct result of the financial crisis they are experiencing.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Jane Lytvynenko, the CUP Board’s nominee for CUP 77 President and National Bureau Chief. Although I am outraged by the processes employed which led us to this point, I want to wish Jane well as she prepares to assume the tasks the CUP Board of Directors have appointed her to undertake. She will no doubt have a very challenging role ahead of her.

Since my election in January as CUP 77 president, I have demonstrated good faith and made many sacrifices. These were made evident when I uprooted from my life in British Columbia last month and relocated to Ontario in anticipation of my employment with CUP. I have done so without requesting any form of reimbursement or compensation from the cooperative, a perk traditionally offered to incoming national office staff. And I am proud to inform the membership that I have worked everyday since my election in familiarizing myself with the organization I was elected to lead.

Today, the decision with respect to the next CUP President, made by the membership at the plenary assembled on January 13th in Edmonton, has effectively been invalidated by the CUP Board of Directors. This was done after some budget maneuvering which did not allow for two national office staff positions.

I was surprised to learn, through private conversation, as early as last Wednesday, April 2nd, that the decision of the hiring committee struck by the CUP Board of Directors had already been made. I was asked to consider stepping aside and let the Board’s choice for President/NBC go into the hiring process uncontested. I applied for the newly-established position because I wanted to represent the voice of the membership.

Student journalism in Canada began as a mechanism to ensure fairness in campus politics. CUP member publications hold to account student unions across the country and ensure that students are informed of the fair and transparent practice of student democracy. I must now ask myself why CUP has decided to stray from these democratic principles within its own organization.

I understood the serious challenges that CUP would face moving forward, and I spent weeks in self-reflection, mulling over whether or not I should put my name forward as CUP’s next president. When I applied, I firmly believed I was the best person to lead CUP through its much-needed transformation. My platform was outlined to the membership throughout the six days I was in Edmonton. It does not seem right that the next president was vetted through a 25-minute phone interview with a CUP Board hiring committee of five people.

I am further troubled that the Board of Directors did not consult the membership for such a fundamental decision, nor has it yet communicated to the membership the process which has led us to this point.

Nothing about this process feels right to me, and I feel it right to communicate with you. In the days to come, I will examine my options. One thing is for sure, the book about my time at CUP has closed without even being written.

I wish to thank the dozens of people who have already expressed their support and have issued kind words to me. This is no doubt a very difficult time for me, and in the coming days I will evaluate all of the options at my disposal.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the membership for their support of my candidacy at NASH 76. You have bestowed upon me one of the greatest honours of my life, and I am only sorry I will not be permitted to serve the Canadian University Press as president.


Patrick Vaillancourt
Former President-elect
Canadian University Press

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