B.C. appoints Carole James to board as racism allegations rock Royal BC Museum
VICTORIA -- One of British Columbia Premier John Horgan's closest advisors has been appointed to the board of the Royal BC Museum as the institution attempts to fix a workplace culture that has triggered a formal investigation into allegations of racism and bullying.
A former B.C. finance minister and now special advisor to the premier, Carole James was appointed to the museum's board of directors by an order of the province's executive council on Friday. Her term is scheduled to continue until July 31, 2023.
Earlier in the week, the museum announced the abrupt departure of chief executive Jack Lohman, and the premier told reporters he was "very concerned" by staff allegations of racism at the Victoria institution.
"I’m happy to say how pleased I am to offer my time and energy to the board," James told CTV News on Tuesday, adding that she couldn't speak about the specific challenges facing the museum until she has a formal orientation and meeting with the museum board.
Over the summer, the BC Public Service Agency launched an investigation into allegations of bullying and discrimination among museum staff. The agency has yet to report its findings.
On the same day the museum announced Lohman's departure, the museum’s Indigenous collections curator announced that he too was leaving and took shots at the museum's leadership on his way out the door.
“The museum needs to take responsibility for the fact that it continues to deny that systemic racism exists,” outgoing curator Troy Sebastian said, calling the museum "a bastion of white supremacy."
In an interview with CTV News on Thursday, the museum's acting CEO said the board had hired diversity and inclusion consultant Alden Habacon to help lead a workplace transition, which will include having an Indigenous advocacy representative at every board meeting.
The museum has also launched a series of staff education programs and formed an equity and inclusion task force, which will report the findings of its own internal inquiry to the board "in the coming weeks," said acting CEO Dan Muzyka.
The acting CEO said he has no ambitions to fill the leadership role in the long term, and estimated it will take six months to find a new chief executive.