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Look who decided to come back

by Joel Ashak January 31, 2012

Former Concordia president Judith Woodsworth is back at Concordia, but this time as a professor in the French department.

After a controversial departure in 2010 that saw her being sent off with a $700,000 severance package, Woodsworth has returned to her old job as translation teacher without any public announcement from the university.

Concordia spokeswoman Cléa Desjardins told The Gazette that there was no announcement because Woodsworth is still considered a faculty member, and is entitled to return to her academic position.

In an interview with The Concordian, Maria Peluso, president of the Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association, said, “There is nothing abnormal about an administrator who continues to teach.” CUPFA had been quite vocal in expressing its discontent with the unanswered questions surrounding Woodsworth’s dismissal and with the severance package she subsequently received.

Woodsworth was shown the door by the BoG in December 2010, halfway through her mandate—a mandate she got after replacing Claude Lajeunesse, who left the position with a $1 million severance package two years into his five-year mandate. Her ousting was originally described in a Dec. 22, 2010 press release as a “resignation,” although rumours of her firing were confirmed several weeks later.

Woodsworth’s dismissal created a major controversy and raised serious concerns about university governance, as the administration refused to give any explanation for dismissing two university presidents in a row.

Her ousting was the main reason for the creation of the External Governance Review Committee, which released a report last June calling for sweeping changes to be made to all levels of Concordia’s governance structure.

Concordia Student Union president Lex Gill did not seem surprised by the news of Woodsworth’s return. “She’s certainly not an excellent administrator, but it’s a different job,” she said.

The Board of Governors’ presidential search committee is currently working on a shortlist of candidates for the president’s job after interim president Frederick Lowy’s term ends in August. Lowy, who served as Concordia’s rector between 1995 and 2005, was brought back to Concordia by the BoG following Woodsworth’s firing to fill the position on an interim basis.

With files from Marilla Steuter-Martin.

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