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Written by Diana Thebaud Nicholson // September 28, 2007 // Canada, Education, Wednesday Nights // Comments Off on More on Concordia
28 September 2007
Why did president leave, Concordia faculty asks
Open letter denounces board’s silence. Sept. 18 decision remains shrouded in secrecy
JAN RAVENSBERGEN, The Gazette
A curtain of official silence around the abrupt departure of Claude Lajeunesse as Concordia University president “is unacceptable,” says an open letter issued yesterday by the university’s 950-member faculty union.
Neither the board of governors nor Lajeunesse has provided “a believable or coherent explanation” for his exit, added the letter, signed by Charles Draimin, president of the Concordia University Faculty Association.
Lajeunesse is to leave the university on Oct. 31 – less than halfway through a five-year term that began in August 2005.
The decision, announced Sept. 18, was “by mutual agreement,” the board said at the time.
“The manner, timing and implications of this resignation are very disturbing to us,” the open letter says. It posed a series of detailed questions about the process followed, particularly the degree of involvement of “the board as a whole.”
“The absence of transparency regarding the reason for the decision … is particularly worrisome,” the letter added.
Lajeunesse is not getting a severance payment “because he wasn’t fired,” [Concordia spokesperson Christine] Mota said. “His contract does have a compensation clause in it. And his contract is confidential.”
Mota would not confirm or deny reports one board member quit the board because of the Lajeunesse affair. “I have heard that one member resigned,” she said. But she added: “I have not been told that officially. And until I have a name or there is some kind of official announcement, to me that’s still word of mouth.”
The faculty letter emphasized “the current situation has created an undesirable air of uncertainty at the university.”
“The view that important decisions at Concordia are taken behind closed doors … is not productive and is certainly not acceptable to the CUFA membership,” it added.
“Is this truly the message the university wants to convey internally and externally? This is the antithesis of a university.
“Such secrecy with regard to such a key announcement has, and will continue, to engender wild speculation about the true goals of the board.”