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From Chair to Chair: Questionable governance and the BoG

by The Concordian October 11, 2011

Following the controversy surrounding the dismissal of President Woodsworth
last winter, there was much to be optimistic about regarding the future of our Board of
Governors. Ideas such as reform, transparency, and good governance began to make
their way back into an organization that had lacked such principles in previous years.
Furthermore, it was equally impressive that this movement was largely pushed forward
by a unified effort between students and faculty.
Fast forward to the most recent BoG meeting and it is evident that a new
academic year has returned the BoG to its old way of thinking. The manner in which
the discussion over Article 23 proceeded was so poorly managed that it brings into
question the seriousness of the BoG about its commitment to good governance. When
looked at critically, the meeting was organized in a manner that should be of great
concern to all members of the Concordia community. Who is to blame for this major
mishap? The responsibility lies primarily with one person, BoG chairperson Peter
Kruyt.
It is important to remember that being a chairperson is a very difficult position;
it requires having sound judgment, a strong knowledge of the rules, and an ability to
demonstrate quick critical thinking. While the chair is necessarily entrusted with using
good discretion, the recent actions of Peter Kruyt during BoG meetings brings into
question whether he actually conducts himself according to these principles. Over the
past year, Mr. Kruyt has demonstrated alarming amounts of egotism, contempt, and
questionable objectivity; and as such his continued presence as BoG chair should be
seriously reviewed.
When reviewing Mr.Kruyt’s position, there are a number of disturbing trends
which have come to define meetings chaired by him. First, Mr.Kruyt has extended his
power so unilaterally that he continually demonstrates his capacity ignore both the
BoG’s own rules and basic general conduct expected by any chairperson. During the
last BoG meeting, Mr.Kruyt ended debate on important motions prematurely multiple
times, openly criticizing student representatives who pointed out these inconsistencies.
Second, the demeanour and attitude in which Mr. Kruyt treats some Board of
Governors members during these meetings can be described best as unchecked
arrogance. Meetings should be an opportunity to express all points of view, yet Peter
Kruyt has clearly abandoned this principle. During such meetings, it has become
increasingly apparent that if you do not support his position, your opinion is not
welcome. A chairperson should remove his personal opinions from influencing how the
meeting proceeds, another standard that Mr. Kruyt has conveniently forgotten.
As a result of these trends, it is difficult to believe that Mr.Kruyt is truly serious
about bringing good governance to our university. While we have made every
reasonable attempt to have him demonstrate such priorities, his reaction to recent
controversies surrounding the BoG was for his own preservation rather than a genuine
attempt to reform university governance. Consider this: Mr. Kruyt recently remarked
about closing BoG meetings to a general audience, an outrageous proposition that is
the polar opposite of transparency.
The time is now for all members of the Concordia community to consider how
committed our highest decision making body is towards the values of good governance.
Despite numerous promises, this body continues to be chaired by an individual who has
clearly demonstrated serious deviations from the basic framework of such values. The
next time Mr.Kruyt has the audacity to claim that certain students are doing a disservice
to this university, he should take a hard look in the mirror and judge himself instead.

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