While many Concordia students still have no idea about what led to the resignation of Judith Woodsworth, it became clear last week that their student representatives were always in the know, and may even have helped it happen.
At the CSU council meeting last Wednesday, former CSU president Amine Dabchy said that not only were he and the three other student representatives on the Board of Governors aware that Woodsworth would be asked to resign, but they actually encouraged the board to do so.
“On Dec. 1 we expressed our views to the chair of the board and we told him why we felt that she wasn’t the greatest president for various reasons, you know, the departure of the vice-presidents, the internal auditor scandal, her position on tuition and the fact that she didn’t want to meet with the students on several times,” Dabchy said. “For all these reasons we demanded that the chair of the board act immediately asking for significant changes.”
The other student representatives on the board are Stephanie Siriwardhana, CSU councillor Abdullah Husen and CSU president Heather Lucas.
Lucas said she signed the document because of Woodsworth’s call for the American model of tuition and because she “felt that there was not much support for us to attain a water bottle free campus with the renewal of the Pepsico contract.”
Many CSU councillors complained at a council meeting last week that they were kept in the dark about details surrounding Woodsworth’s departure. Councillor Michaela Manson also said that the reasons given by Dabchy and Lucas for supporting the board were questionable. “They say it’s because Judith Woodsworth was not representing students or, you know, not listening to students. I don’t agree with that position,” she said. “I do think she failed to acknowledge what students need and want but I don’t think that’s a basis for why the CSU should be supporting the Board of Governors’ decision.”
Lucas admitted she was surprised by how soon the resignation occurred.
“I didn’t know the exact time as to when she would be asked to resign as I supported the document in late November. There was nothing that prevented me from telling councillors about the reason she was asked to resign. The timing of how it happened was sooner than I anticipated.”
Despite having signed a document requesting it, Dabchy said he “didn’t know” if the student representatives played a big role in Woodsworth’s departure, but he thought it was unlikely.
Despite criticism from CSU councillors that he and the other representatives defended the interests of the Board over students, Dabchy said he believes that they made the right decision. “I think now the situation is not that the Concordia community is regretting Judith Woodsworth or were big fans of her. I think the situation was the process, the process of how it was handled. The way the situation was handled is what is shocking the Concordia community.”