Response to TRU Investigation

TRUFA Decolonization Indigenization Reconciliation Committee (DRIC) Statement
June 29, 2021
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Response to TRU Investigation

Dear Colleagues,

Like many of you, TRUFA learned this morning that the Board of Governors has initiated an investigation into allegations of misconduct by Larry Phillips, AVP of People and Culture and Matt Milovick, VP of Finance.

The allegations brought forward by the complainants as described in media stories are shocking and extremely serious. On behalf of faculty, TRUFA takes these complaints very seriously. TRUFA is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful workplace. We are also deeply committed to the principles of Indigenization and reconciliation. If true, the allegations relayed in the media represent intolerable behaviour within the TRU community.

TRUFA is concerned that both senior managers remain at work. Any faculty member facing similar complaints would be on leave until the investigation was concluded. The same standard should apply to senior management employees.

TRUFA is also concerned that current and former employees wish to remain anonymous because of concerns for their safety. We are glad the university has lifted non-disclosure clauses in some severance agreements to allow former employees to safely participate in the investigation. We urge the University to reach out to anyone who has left TRU under a severance agreement to offer the same conditions regardless of whether those individuals are currently complainants. TRUFA additionally calls on TRU to immediately ban or waive all NDAs in the context of discrimination or harassment.

TRUFA maintains that the University must conduct a fair, thorough, and trauma-informed investigation of all the allegations that have been brought forward. To do so, the University needs to ensure no senior managers are involved in directing the investigation. TRU also needs to put the senior managers being investigated on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Leave does not imply guilt; however, it does ensure a more fair and thorough investigation process.

To date, TRUFA has not been asked to participate in the investigation. However, TRUFA will fully cooperate with the investigation if asked. If you are asked to participate in the investigation, please do not hesitate to contact TRUFA so that you can be properly represented and so that your rights can be protected. If you are a faculty member who has any information to contribute to the investigation, please do not hesitate to come forward to TRUFA. We can help you with next steps.

TRUFA is also conscious that reading these allegations and the associated comments may be triggering to those members who have experienced sexual harassment or anti-Indigenous racism. TRUFA encourages members who would benefit from additional support to contact stewards@trufa.ca or contact me directly at president@trufa.ca

In Solidarity,

Tara