The Province neglects accuracy and impartiality—again

LANGLEY, BC, Oct. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - Trinity Western University, having built and maintained its well-established position as a highly-ranked, nationally-respected member of the Canadian higher education community for more than 50 years, is very concerned about the known inaccuracies in yesterday's article by Kent Spencer in the Province. The article relied on misleading statements, and out of context quotes, to claim that a parcel of land purchased by the Township of Langley in April 2012 was acquired at a price higher than market value.

The University provided a statement to the Province that outlined the facts of a land deal, which occurred more than 12 months ago. In addition, TWU made available the summary of the three independent appraisal documents that determined market price of the land.

Despite the facts, the article characterized last year's charitable donation by former TWU Board of Governors member Hugh Little as a suspicious transaction, with unanswered questions and potential under-the-table-cronyism. While the Province may believe TWU's affairs are as provocative as Spencer insinuates, the reality could not be further from the truth. 

Mr. Little has had a decades-long relationship with TWU, and gifted the land as a charitable donation. The land donation was years in the making; it was not a 24-hour process, as Spencer purports.

The purchase price of the land was the average price ($2.7 million) of three separate appraisals, which was confirmed to be the market price, and the Township invested in the property as part of a development plan. The nature of this collaboration and investment is similar to UBC's Endowment Lands, SFU's UniverCity, or the U District surrounding UFV in Abbotsford.

TWU is the second-largest employer and a significant landowner in the community, with a strong record of collaboration and planning with the Township of Langley. Spencer attempts to make the point, as he did unsuccessfully in his previous article on August 9, 2013, that a relationship such as the one the University has with the Township is out of the ordinary—an odd assertion, given that any large institution and its local governments should work together on land use, planning, and projects that are of mutual benefit. Recently, TWU partnered with the Township, and the Blaauw family, on a land agreement that saw 25-acres of forested land in Glen Valley preserved for public use, education, and research.

Canadian society is stronger when news outlets report the news, however, it seems the Province has abandoned the basic journalistic principles of accuracy and impartiality. We are disappointed that the Province would not be more careful to fairly report the facts.

Trinity Western University is a Christian University of the arts, sciences, and professions, legislated by British Columbia to serve the public. Recognized for quality, TWU is consistently ranked among the top two universities in Canada for Educational Experience by the National Survey of Student Engagement; holds three Canada Research Chairs; wins National Championships in CIS sports; and emphasizes experiential learning to prepare graduates to make a global impact. TWU offers 42 bachelor's degrees, 16 graduate degrees, and adult degree-completion programs. A vibrant community committed to educating the whole person, TWU has been developing leaders of character and competence for 50 years.

SOURCE: Trinity Western University

For further information:

Media contact: Jennifer Watton,
Ph: 604-513-2121 ext. 3341


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