Money Matters

Graphic Julia Wolfe

Even a cursory glance at the auditor’s report and statement of salaries of Concordia’s upper management, presented to the Board of Governors on Nov. 17, reveals one fact immediately: a lot of dollars come through the university door.

With an operating budget of almost $400 million, The Link decided to take an in-depth look at where the money is coming from—and where it’s going.
What we found was informative, to say the least.

As you saw on our cover, the school is currently losing over $51,000 a year in its exclusive deal with food provider Chartwells.

Upper-level administrators make well into the six-figures, with plenty of perks, such as reimbursed business-class airline tickets, and “administrative leave” pay.

The school makes $190,000 in revenue from charging students for printing, fully half of which is profit. Parking fees provide a whopping $622,000 in profit.

Not that the school making money is a bad thing. Concordia is a small city unto itself, with roughly 50,000 students, administration, faculty and staff in its population.

The funding to make this whole place possible has to come from somewhere, and obviously that money gets spent in many necessary places.

But when you consider the amount of dough it takes to bake the Concordia pie, it’s important to know who’s paying for what, and why.So we asked.

We had a chance to sit down and discuss the report with four upper-level members of the Concordia administration: VP Institutional Relations and Secretary General Bram Freedman, VP Services Roger Côté, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Kelley and University Controller Daniel Therrien.

The following is a brief summary of the audit, with the explanations these four administrators provided. With tuition set to rise substantially, students should ask one simple question:

Are we getting our money’s worth?

So Long, and Thanks for All the Cash

The release of an auditor’s report has revealed that Judith Woodsworth, Concordia’s ex-president who was fired last December, received $169,573 as part of an ‘administrative leave’ pay, in addition to her oft-reported $747,045 severance package.

Concordia VP Services and Secretary General Bram Freedman explained that ‘administrative leave’ is “almost like a little sabbatical,” where academics who are temporarily senior administrators are “given six months to brush up on their academic areas because they’ve been out of [academia] for five or 10 years.”

However, Woodsworth did not resign her position as President of Laurentian University, a job she held for five years, to fill an academic position at Concordia. While some administrators are career academics, the positions themselves are not academic in nature.

Freedman addressed this, as well as the fact that Woodsworth was removed from her position without the possibility of her retaining an academic position at Concordia by saying, “The idea is that most people don’t take the money and run.”

“Most academic administrators who finish their term will continue as academics here at the university. [This] hasn’t happened recently, but that’s the principle and that’s the thinking behind it.”