Con U Faculty Association Speaks Out
CUFA Criticizes Board of Governors
After criticizing the recent firing of President Judith Woodsworth by Concordia’s Board of Governors, the Concordia University Faculty Association announced it will hold an open meeting to discuss the university’s “crisis in governance” next Monday.
On Jan. 4, CUFA President Lucie Lequin posted a letter on the association’s website demanding the board of governors explain the reasons for Woodsworth’s dismissal and denouncing the former president’s $700,000 severance package as a “golden parachute.”
“The board has acted arrogantly,” Lequin told The Link. “They can’t run the university like their own personal business […] this is the second time in three and a half years that the board has fired a president. It’s an embarrassment to the university.”
Former Concordia President Claude Lajeunesse resigned in 2007. His severance package was worth over a million dollars. In September of 2010, Kathy Assayag resigned as Concordia’s VP Alumni relations. A few weeks later, Concordia’s longtime VP Services Michael DiGrappa left the university to pursue a similar job at McGill.
“The board has acted arrogantly”
In the past five years, five Concordia VPs and a number of other senior administrators have resigned with generous severance packages. The cost of these departures is accumulating rapidly and occurring at a time when the university’s budget is being tightened, which Lequin said affects the quality of education at Concordia.
Concordia Student Union President Heather Lucas, who sits on the university’s Board of Governors, would not comment on the nature of Woodsworth’s removal from office.
“All I can say is that I’ll do my best to ensure the board is as transparent as possible in the future,” said Lucas.
In a mass e-mail sent to members of the Concordia community Monday, Board of Governors chair Peter Kruyt wrote that Woodsworth was not fired for financial missapropriation, but provided no details as to why the former president was forced out midway into her five year mandate.
Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota also refused to comment on the firing but told The Link that Concordia would be listening to the concerns of CUFA and various student groups on campus in the coming weeks.
Lequin will be accepting proposals from CUFA’s membership on pressure tactics and other methods of making a difference in the university’s governance.
“Monday’s meeting will be a turning point for the Board of Governors,” she said. “The board has to realize that their attitude towards senior administrators at this school has to change. And hopefully we can send them a clear message.”
This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 18, published January 11, 2011.