Resistance to Transparency
BoG Chairman Kruyt Cited as ‘Rude,’ ‘Condescending’
Student Governors were dealt a disappointing, yet probably expected, blow today from Concordia’s Board of Governors.
Motions filed by Graduate Students’ Association rep Erik Chevrier, that he says were created in the spirit of improving transparency on the Board, were handily voted down.
Chevrier says he was motivated to present the motions because of recommendations made in the External Governance Review Committee’s report specifically mentioning improved transparency of the Board. The report was part of an overall review of Concordia’s governance that was conducted in the wake of ex-president Judith Woodsworth’s dismissal last December.
“I find it quite unfortunate that the External Governance [Review Committee’s] outlines that the Board should be more transparent, but it doesn’t seem like the Board wants to move on this,” said Chevrier.
Chevrier originally introduced the four motions dealing with transparency to the Board last November:
- one motion to require meeting rooms to have space for at least 50 public viewing seats
- a motion to broadcast and archive Board meetings
- a motion requiring no less than 20 minutes of question period from the general public, and
- a motion requiring that all closed-session business be truly confidential in nature.
The first motion was voted down when presented in November and the other three were tabled for further exploration until today’s meeting, when they were all voted down.
Board Chair Peter Kruyt was curt with the student Governors throughout the meeting, often cutting them off and limiting debate to a bare minimum, if any.
“He seems to be quite condescending toward us. Just the way he presents his arguments, the way he presents the motions—he interjects his opinion all of the time. Which I think is highly inappropriate, because he’s the chair,” said Chevrier.
Chevrier’s feelings were echoed by CSU President Lex Gill, who said, “I thought Kruyt’s behaviour while those motions were being voted on was deplorable. I think as a chair he has a certain responsibility to, if not be completely impartial, then facilitate debate in a neutral way, which is absolutely not what happened.”
“Regardless of the outcomes of the votes, I think it was revolting to watch how the process was manhandled by the chair and how any any sort of discussion was shot down and editorialized,” Gill continued.
Gill said that Kruyt continually referred to the student representatives as ‘the students,’ identified them only by first name (unlike non-student Board members), and treated them, essentially, as children.
“Kruyt’s attitude has come up after every single Board meeting at this point and it baffles me that the university allows this person to be the chair of their Board because he sets such a poor example of decorum and respect. That’s the biggest thing for me. This is the guy who’s the chair of the Board of Governors of Concordia University, and he’s rude and abrasive and can’t even chair a meeting properly,” said Gill.