Concordia?s new interim president

Frederick Lowy, who started out as Concordia’s rector in 1995 and stepped down as president and vice-chancellor in 2005, will likely serve as acting president for Concordia while the Board of Governors seeks out a permanent candidate over the course of the next year.

“The Executive Committee of the Board completed its review of the 21 candidates suggested, and has recommended our distinguished former President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Frederick H. Lowy, as Interim President,” stated BoG chair Peter Kruyt, who made the announcement in an “update” to the university Monday evening.

“In December, I agreed to consult the internal members of the Board of Governors before bringing the question of an Interim President to the full Board. Accordingly, we met this morning and had constructive discussions on the selection of Dr. Lowy,” the statement read.

Now, the interim committee will submit his candidacy to the rest of the BoG, and he will be in office by the end of the month.

“[Lowy] brings experience, deep knowledge about Concordia’s mission, values and strategic initiatives, and personal qualities that will help ensure a continuity of vision and leadership,” read the statement.

Lowy moved to Montreal from Austria at the age of 13, and studied psychiatry. He gave up his practice when he came to Concordia after a period at University of Toronto. Lowy started under the cloud of the 1992 Fabrikant shootings.

His period in power oversaw the 1992 Netanyahu riots and the start of a construction boom at the university.

CSU president and BoG member Heather Lucas sat on the committee that selected Lowy, and said the BoG is so far receptive. “The committee appeared to be in agreement in selecting him, because a lot of members at the table felt that he was more than capable of being the interim.”

The announcement will likely not quell the heavy criticism the BoG has come under since Judith Woodsworth’s removal from office Dec. 22, 2010.

Numerous statements have been issued by university members in the intervening weeks decrying the decision, lamenting a lack of transparency, and the appearance of growing corporatism and outside interests on the BoG.

Journalism professor Mike Gasher, who circulated a letter signed by almost 200 faculty and staff in regards to Woodsworth last week, and attended the session, was not confident about the decision. “I really don’t know what to think of it. He’s a previous president, well-respected, I believe, and approachable. I’m just not sure what he can be expected to do as an interim president, especially when we’re calling for an overhaul of the Board of Governors,” he wrote in an email.

CUFA, CUPFA, CSU, ASFA and the history department have called for Kruyt’s resignation, sometimes with part or whole of the BoG.

While the BoG met Monday morning, the Concordia University Faculty Association, one of the first groups to make a statement, met in H-110 to discuss potential action. They voted to call for the BoG chair and vice-chairs to step down, and a committee be struck by senate to investigate governance at Concordia.

Other groups to add their voices this week included the arts and science chairs, who condemned the BoG and filed a motion of non-confidence, and the three alumni associations, who were favourable to Woodsworth’s departure, to the criticisms of some alumni members.

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