An open letter to the Concordia community from Chair of the Board of Governors, Peter Kruyt

October 1, 2007 – Concordia is a successful institution and an integral part of the fabric of Montreal. The announcement at the September 18 meeting of the Board of Governors, that President Lajeunesse would be stepping down, has had an impact both inside and outside the Concordia community. Clearly, it is a challenging time for our university.

I appreciate that the manner, timing and implications of the agreement concerning the President’s departure leave some Concordians with a degree of discomfort. I can assure you that this was not the intent of the Board. Decisions such as these are difficult for everyone and their impact can be far reaching. But the best interests of the university must be the priority and I believe that we have all acted in the best interests of the university.

The notion of transparency has been raised because the decision was arrived at during a closed session of the Board. Issues involving confidential contractual arrangements with the university are always dealt with in closed session; this practice is both in keeping with the procedural parameters which govern the Board and past practices of the Board.

That being said, I also acknowledge that, as Dr. Charles Draimin, President of CUFA, wrote to me, “… all the members of the University community are crucial partners in this institution. We share in the successes and the failures, the good press and the bad.” I also appreciate and share Dr. Draimin’s concern for our collegial governance and the desire to minimize any damage to Concordia. I truly believe that the aspirations of the Board, our faculty, staff and students for this great institution are aligned and all these constituencies have the best interests of Concordia at heart.

Another point raised by Dr. Draimin in his letter to the Board was that “there are many plausible theories circulating in the University. These theories go beyond personalities and raise the issue of possible new strategic directions for Concordia.” Let me assure you this is definitely not the case.

The announced departure will not alter our course, nor will it change the roles and responsibilities of the various components of university governance. However, I do believe that we would clearly help the institution best by pulling together at this time and in this regard I certainly am open to engaging in a constructive dialogue.

This is why I have taken the first step to broaden the consultation process for the selection of an Interim President to include all the Deans as well as the senior administration. I have asked them for help by providing us with their three most important criteria for the selection of an Interim President.

It is not the intent of the Board that the interim incumbent be a candidate for the permanent role. While I am sure a number of potential names have come up and that some informal discussion has already occurred, I can confirm to you that no one has been offered the job nor has any potential candidate met with a member of the Executive Committee. So, the work remains ahead of us and we should move carefully by consulting broadly, while acting with purpose, so as not to prolong this period of transition.

I am also aware of the desire that the faculty representatives on the Board play a more central role in University governance than they have up until now, and I agree. At the Board meeting of October 18, I am putting forward for consideration a motion to add another faculty member to the executive committee of the Board.

I believe it is important to build a closer partnership between all members of our community, the Board, faculty, staff and students in the weeks and months ahead. We need to move ahead with purpose and I am confident that Concordia will be well served through this period of transition.

Peter Kruyt
Board of Governors


Concordia University