By Rebecca Burton
Concordia University has landed in hot water after a series of severance packages were given out totalling over $2.4 million to two former presidents and five other administrators.
The buyouts included former Ryerson president from 1995-2005, Claude Lajeunesse, who received approximately $1.4 million just two years into his five-year contract.
The Quebec Ministry of Education is cracking down on the university by reducing their funding by $2 million next year. The university also announced last week that they will be hiring two external auditors to examine the payouts, according to The Link.
In a comment to the Montreal Gazette, Concordian president and vice-chancellor Frederick Lowy said, “following a careful review of our legal obligations, we will be disclosing publicly the information related to severance payments totalling some $2.4 million made to five senior management individuals over the past few years.”
The packages also accounted for Lajeunesse’s successor, Judith Woodsworth, who was dispatched at the end of 2010 with a approximately $900,000 in severance pay. Woodsworth remains at the university as a tenured professor of French translation.
According to the Gazette, the payouts included $605,000 to former internal audit director Ted Nowak, $639,000 to former internal assistant audit director Saad Zubair, $700,000 to former vice-president of advancement and alumni affairs Kathy Assayag.
The last two included $332,000 to former chief financial officer Larry English and $129,000 to former security director Jean Brisebois.
In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp said the severance packages were “excessive” and led to “concerns about the use of public funds by universities.”