By Eric Lam
Former Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse has stepped down as president of Concordia University in Montreal, two years after taking the position.
Lajeunesse’s controversial tenure with Ryerson ended in 2005. The decision was made “mutually” by Lajeunesse and the Concordia Board of Governors in a closed-session meeting Tuesday morning, Chris Mota, director of media relations at Concordia, said. “Bottom line is, there was a mutual agreement this was the best time for him to step down,” Mota said.
According to Noah Stewart, VP Communications for the Concordia Student Union, the union is looking at the move as a “postive” one.
“His vision for Concordia was not in sync with [the board of governors],” Stewart said.
“I don’t think anyone likes disruption,” Charles Draimin, president of the Concordia Faculty Association, said. “Someone leaving in the middle of term is not normal. It’s a little discomforting.”
Lajeunesse was Ryerson’s president for 10 years, finishing his second term in 2005. At the end of his first five-year term in 2000, Ryerson’s board of governors chose to offer Lajeunesse a second term despite receiving numerous complaints from students and faculty.
Lajeunesse’s predecessor, Terry Grier, was renewed for two years without a review, while Lajeunesse had to complete a self-evaluation and sit for an interview with the presidential review committee.
Lajeunesse released a joint statement with the Concordia Board of Governors Tuesday afternoon. “I am very proud to have served this great institution for the past two years,” Lajeunesse said.
“I wish to thank Claude and publicly recognize his achievements, leadership and commitment over the past two years,” Peter Kruyt, chair of the Board of Governors, said in the release.
Lajeunesse will stay on until Oct. 31, when an interim president will take over until the end of the school year.
“The hope is to have someone in place by September 2008,” Mota said.
Short-listed candidates are expected to address the community, who will submit feedback that the university takes into consideration when hiring the new president. “This is how we do things,” Mota said.
Lajeunesse advocated unfreezing tution during his tenure at Concordia, a postion that upset students.