Former UBC president Arvind Gupta breaks silence about mysterious resignation

Brian Hutchinson: Former UBC president breaks silence about mysterious resignation

Brian Hutchinson | January 29, 2016 6:10 PM ET
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Former UBC president Arvind Gupta: “I decided a public confrontation would not be in (the university’s) best interests.”

Arlen Redekop/Postmedia News/File Former UBC president Arvind Gupta: “I decided a public confrontation would not be in (the university’s) best interests.”

VANCOUVER – Another month, another screwup at the University of British Columbia, where internal investigations, apologies and loss of face now seem as routine, and unwelcome, as frosh week hazing.

One of Canada’s largest post-secondary institutions, UBC has seen four separate investigations in the past six months alone, including such serious matters as sexual assaults on campus.

This week, another controversy that had been simmering for months boiled over when the school’s gaffe-prone administration made public certain documents it wanted kept secret.

The “private” material formed part of a larger package shared by UBC on Wednesday in response to freedom-of-information requests; these related to the sudden departure of Arvind Gupta, the university’s short-lived president.

Gupta resigned his position last summer, after just 13 months on the job. He quit without offering any explanation to the public, UBC faculty members or the school’s 60,000 students. Alarm bells rang: As an academic institution, UBC is supposed to cherish transparency.

Into the information vacuum rushed speculation. One UBC professor suggested that Gupta, a soft-spoken computer scientist, had lost a “masculinity contest” to certain members of the school’s board of governors. Board chairman John Montalbano, a Vancouver-based businessman, took umbrage. He called out the professor; this led to another kerfuffle. And, eventually, to Montalbano’s own resignation as UBC chairman.

New Express Entry system triggers CEC backlog, would-be immigrants frustrated

Frustration abounds for immigrants stuck in backlog

Would-be immigrants applying under the Canadian Experience Class are forced to quit their jobs and return home due to delays in processing.

 Satya Dash, 39, came from England for a post-clinical fellowship at University of Toronto in 2011 after finishing his medical degree from Cambridge. He applied in August 2014 and his new job as staff physician at the University Health Network and teaching at University of Toronto is on hold.

LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR Order this photo

Satya Dash, 39, came from England for a post-clinical fellowship at University of Toronto in 2011 after finishing his medical degree from Cambridge. He applied in August 2014 and his new job as staff physician at the University Health Network and teaching at University of Toronto is on hold.

British endocrinologist Satya Dash has lived in Toronto for four years and loved his job and the city so much he applied for Canadian permanent residency in August 2014.

With his work experience in Canada, the Cambridge-educated physician applied under the old Canadian Experience Class or CEC, which at the time took less than 12 months to process.

In July, Dash was supposed to start as a staff physician at the University Health Network and teaching at the University of Toronto, but a backlog has put his new job on indefinite hold.

Across Canada, the backlog — said to be the result of Ottawa’s deployment of much needed resources on the new Express Entry system — has wreaked havoc on the lives of thousands of CEC applicants.

Harjit Sajjan: Meet Canada’s new ‘badass’ defence minister

Sajjan served with the Canadian military in Bosnia and Afghanistan, a VPD detective

By Tamara Baluja, CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2015 8:02 PM PT Last Updated: Nov 05, 2015 9:57 AM PT

Harjit Sajjan, Canada's new defence minister, was a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a Vancouver police gang crime unit detective.Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s new defence minister, was a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and a Vancouver police gang crime unit detective. (Twitter)

BLAINVILLE, QC.: Dr. Saideh Khadir says gluing laceration by receptionist “unacceptable”

Private medical clinic says doctor was performing ‘crucial medical task’ of holding boy

By Rosa Marchitelli, CBC News Posted: Sep 07, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 07, 2015 9:53 AM ET

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 Boy’s eye glued shut by clinic receptionist 2:20

​The mother of a three-year-old Quebec boy is going public after a receptionist with no medical training at a private clinic accidentally glued her son’s eye shut while trying to seal a small cut on his eyelid.

“I thought I was going to faint. I got emotional, I got scared. I was angry. I didn’t know what to do. My son was screaming he was trying to open his eye … it was very, very, scary,” Julia Vavatsikos told Go Public.

On Canada Day, Vavatsikos took Vincenzo (Vinnie) to a private medical clinic called Clinique Médicale Privée Jean-Pierre Savaria et Associes located near their home in Blainville. The clinic has since changed its name to LeBlanc & Savaria Clinique Médicale Privée.

Julia Vavatsikos with son Vinnie Julia Vavatsikos is outraged that a receptionist with no medical training was the one who applied medical glue to her son’s eyelid. (CBC)

The family cat had scratched Vinnie’s eyelid. It was a small scratch, but his mom wanted to make sure everything was OK.

Dr. Jean Therrien was the only doctor working and decided the cut could be sealed with medical glue. He called a colleague into the room to help.

“I thought because it was Canada Day that maybe the clinic was short-staffed, and that he [the colleague] was either a nurse or medical student,” Vavatsikos said.

“The doctor was holding my son and kind of holding his eye and then the co-worker applied glue. He kind of missed and he glued my son’s eye shut.”

That co-worker was not a nurse or a medical student. Go Public has confirmed he was a clinic receptionist — a part-time employee with no medical training.

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 Vinnie en route to hospital with eye sealed shut0:28

“My son was yelling, ‘Mommy, mommy.’ He couldn’t open his eye and also the doctor looked like he was panicking. He was trying to open my son’s eye with water and his fingers, he was even swearing at that point. I’ve never met any doctors that swear. At that point, I knew something was really wrong,” Vavatsikos said.

Therrien then told Vavatsikos she needed to take Vinnie to an emergency room, where medical staff were waiting for them.

‘Nurse couldn’t believe it’

“The first nurse [we saw] couldn’t believe it. She said first of all, they try to avoid using glue because things like this could happen especially on places like an eye. But if they have to do it, the nurses aren’t allowed. It has to be a doctor or a specialist. At that point I was even more frustrated,” Vavatsikos said.

An ophthalmologist was called in to cut the boys eyelashes and carefully pry the eye open.

Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song wins international competition for high school students

Alex Song, 18, now ranks first on the Olympiad’s Hall of Fame

By Liam Casey, The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 27, 2015 3:32 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 27, 2015 5:28 PM ET

Left to right: Jinhao (Hunter) Xu, James Rickards (Observer), Kevin Sun, Jacob Tsimerman (Leader), Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song, Lindsey Shorser (Deputy Leader), Alexander Whatley, Michael Pang, Yan (Bill) Huang are shown at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand on July 16, 2015.

Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song (Perfect Score) HALL OF FAME “IMO” Ranking No. 1 http://www.edupark.co.th/site/images/NEWS/17-07-2015-IMO/16-07-2015-IMO-02.jpg

Left to right: Jinhao (Hunter) Xu, James Rickards (Observer), Kevin Sun, Jacob Tsimerman (Leader), Zhuo Qun (Alex) Song, Lindsey Shorser (Deputy Leader), Alexander Whatley, Michael Pang, Yan (Bill) Huang are shown at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand on July 16, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Mathematical Society)

The name Alex Song is spoken in reverential tones in Canadian mathematical circles.

The 18-year-old won the International Mathematical Olympiad in Thailand in mid-July, achieving the rare perfect score in the two-day competition against more than 600 high school competitors from 104 countries.

Song has had an incredible run over the past six years, finishing with five gold medals and one bronze against the best in the world. Now he sits atop the all-time leaderboard, ranking first on the Olympiad’s Hall of Fame.

The Olympiad is a big deal in math. Previous participants have gone on to win prestigious international awards such as the Fields Medal, given out to a few mathematicians under 40 years old, every four years. It’s considered by many as the highest honour in mathematics.

For Song, the Olympiad win wasn’t that big of a deal.

“I was definitely very happy at the same time,” he says. “But, I mean, it was just whatever happened.”

CIC vows ‘to help’ Ottawa RedBlacks quarterback Henry Burris to remain in Canada

Immigration Canada vows ‘to help’ Burris

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BY , OTTAWA SUN

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henry burris
Ottawa RedBlacks quarterback Henry Burris. Tim Baines/Ottawa Sun

Henry Burris’ citizenship snafu has already caught the attention of the feds prompting an Easter Sunday statement.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada responded Sunday — in a statement to the Sun — saying they will work to keep the Ottawa RedBlacks star quarterback in Ottawa.

“We will work with the Ottawa RedBlacks and Mr. Burris to ensure he can remain in Canada.” said Kevin Menard, spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

“Mr. Burris has shown a great commitment to Canada over many years, and his community work through his foundation is an example for Canadian youth and all Canadians.”

On Friday, Burris told the Sun he’s frustrated with the CIC in his attempt to secure permanent resident status or full-blown citizenship.

Burris said the main stumbling block is that his job as a CFL quarterback is considered “part-time work”.

But there may be hope for Burris, according to immigration lawyer Julie Taub.