Fairness or Hypocrisy?

Hello UBC Funding committee,

I will not be donating to UBC this year, or the next, or for as long as UBC does not pay writers like myself for our intellectual property via Access Copyright. My short stories have been used in high school, college and university literature classes since the 1990’s. My annual cheque from Access Copyright has been shrinking dramatically since Canadian universities began withdrawing their funds from the only program which pays Canadian writers a very small percentage for the ongoing pedagogical use of our work. Your plea for funding states, below:

From sustainability to human rights, medical research to economic reform, technological development to international relations – when you make a gift to UBC, you are helping to shape the future.

For many years, I have managed to donate $100 to the UBC Bursary Fund, from which I was a grateful beneficiary in the early 70’s or to the UBC Sociology Department’s Pat Marchak Endowment Fund, amongst other departments. Despite my modest annual income, I firmly believe in paying it forward to help students like myself who come from lower income families especially. I also donate to Doctors Without Borders, the Caravan Farm Theatre, BC Children’s Hospital, and assorted other literacy and cultural organizations as I know that every $50 or $100 helps further the goals of these worthy groups. But I cannot support my own alma mater (B.A. 1974, Teacher’s Certificate 1976) when the President proclaims lower prices for course “packages”, thanks to not paying underpaid writers like myself.

I cannot imagine UBC not paying other professionals whose services and products are ongoing and are made use of every year by professors and students. As a published/paid writer since 1968, with many decades spent improving my craft, a diploma from another institution in creative writing, and seven books to date plus professionally produced plays, freelance journalism in print and radio, et cetera, I ask you to stare long and hard at the words “sustainability” and “human rights” and to think about how not paying contemporary Canadian writers for our intellectual property fits in with those lofty concepts.

Therefore, with true regret, I will not be donating to UBC until this matter is resolved.

Caroline Woodward

Lennard Island Lightstation

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About Shaleeta Harper

I am the Executive Director of the FBCW.

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