Concordia's controversial chair plans to skip board meeting

Quiet settlement of wrongful dismissal case raises more questions about former presidents (alleged) firing

Peter Kruyt, the controversial chair of Concordia University’s board of governors, is not planning to attend tomorrow’s board meeting–the first full meeting since the sudden departure of president Judith Woodsworth in December–according to Montreal Gazette columnist Peggy Curran.

The university’s senate, student union and some alumni have called for Kruyt’s resignation, in response to his handling of the Woodsworth situation and the secrecy surrounding the departure of several other high-level university officials.

The circumstances surrounding the (alleged) firing of Woodsworth continue to remain mysterious. Earlier this month, the university settled a wrongful dismissal suit brought by two auditors who were fired by Woodsworth. The former president told Quebec’s labour review board that the auditors had lied to her and that one of them had violated university policies by signing off on expenses claimed by a subordinate for meals he attended. Under cross-examination she admitted to doing the same thing on at least five occasions. Concordia policy requires the most senior person present to claim any expenses for meals.

The university’s release announcing the settlement praises the auditors and their “honest, loyal and dedicated service.” It also states that they were offered their jobs back but declined.

A protest is planned for the meeting which will take place tomorrow morning.

While some alumni are planning to attend the protest, the university’s alumni association has backed the board. The association has also faced criticism from faculty members who are graduates of the university. Maria Peluso, president of the part time faculty association, told the Link, “they have become apologists for the Board of Governors. As an alumni member, I don’t know where the alumni got their facts from.”

Interestingly, six of the alumni association’s seven executives and six of the 13 non-executive directors come from the same faculty, the John Molson School Business. Currently, that faculty accounts for under 21 per cent of the university’s population.

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