The faculty at Mount Allison University were very disappointed when they found out on February 22 that the Board of Regents has refused to accept the Mount Allison Faculty Associations’s elected representative to the search committee for an interim University President.
After the resignation of President Wayne MacKay, the chair of the Board, Robert Winters, assured the university community that the replacement of the President would be conducted in a fair and open manner and that the unease of the faculty regarding the circumstances of Wayne MacKay’s departure was unfounded.
Unfortunately, the actions of the Board fail to live up to the assurances. Not only were faculty not permitted to select their own representative to the search committee, but a special agreement made by Mount Allison University in writing during contract negotiations is now not being honoured by the Board of Regents. The agreement enshrined the right of the faculty union to appoint a representative to search committees.
The President of the faculty union at Mount Allison, Dr. Erin Steuter, says that she is gravely concerned about the future of the university, “if decisions are made in secret without consultations, by self-appointed bodies, unaccountable to any outside group.” Steuter says that the faculty are particularly concerned about: “the resignation, only months after signing a multi-year contract, of a well-liked President who had achieved labour peace and mended the relations between the university and the community; the escalating concerns of the students who are critical of the Board’s financial management of the university; and the lack of consultation and dialogue with the Mount Allison faculty.”
The Mount Allison Faculty Association fears that faculty recruitment and retention will be affected by the return of a chilly climate to the campus, a climate where once more open and collegial processes appear to have been abandoned by the Board after an all-too-short period of renewed goodwill.