President fired from Interior B.C. university defends record

Decision followed an annual review of Kathleen Scherf’s leadership

The outgoing president of Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., is defending her year in office after she was fired by the school’s board of directors.

Kathleen Scherf had been president and vice-chancellor since September 2008, but the board of directors said it lost faith in her leadership.

Scherf said she respects the board’s authority to dismiss her, but “thought my performance was excellent given the results.”

Reading from a prepared statement, Scherf listed off accomplishments from the past year.

“We broke all previous campus United Way campaigns, raising just short of $64,000; during my time, TRU’s fundraising activities increased 342 per cent from the 12 months previous,” she said.

“And finally, we were able to bring the first new law school in 35 years in Canada to TRU.”

The board’s decision followed an annual review of her leadership during the past three months.

Scherf is known for her often colourful demeanour, from referring to other people as “dude” to keeping bold-coloured streaks in her hair.

However, the board has insisted her eccentricities weren’t the reason she was fired.

Scherf will receive nine months of severance worth $168,000, and she is allowed to return to the school to teach if she wants – an option Scherf said she’s keeping open.

Scherf was the school’s fifth president.

Before moving to Kamloops, she was a dean at the University of Calgary and had previously taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of New Brunswick.

– The Canadian Press