By-law changes open the door to third term for Levy

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By Diana Hall

In the initial leg of Sheldon Levy’s second term as president of Ryerson University, the school’s higher authority quietly changed the by-law that limited the approved length of the university’s top job.

Documents obtained by The Eyeopener reveal the Board of Governors passed an amendment that would allow presidents of the university to serve “additional terms of no longer than five years” instead of the traditional cap of two five-year terms, with the odd exception. Section 13.2, which outlines the by-laws relating to the president’s “Term of Office,” was amended on Sept. 27, 2010.

An October 2008 version of the by-laws under Section 13.2 states:

“An individual holding the office of the President is eligible to serve a second five year term upon being so appointed by the Board.” The amendment paves the way for Levy to take on a third term if he agrees to the board’s request for an extension. According to Ryerson’s amended by-laws, in order to be considered for an extended term, the president would have to be reappointed on the basis of serving the university’s “best interests.”

It’s a possibility Levy says isn’t out of the question, but he maintains that he can’t – and won’t – ask for permission to serve another term as president, despite a surge of positive feedback about the university’s academic and infrastructural advancement.

Levy’s vision for the university’s 2008 Master Plan included the construction of the Student Learning Centre, pedestrian-friendly spaces on campus as well as the Ryerson Image Centre. It is largely responsible for the university’s physical stake in coveted downtown Toronto territory, and for its role as a “city builder,” – so dubbed in an October 2012 issue of The Globe and Mail.

But Levy says the measure of his accomplishments hinges on feedback from both the Ryerson and Toronto communities.

“I’m not into this idea of awards or rewards,” Levy says. “They’re all about ‘me’ and there’s nothing in this job that’s about the person. It’s about the institution.”

If Levy declines a possible reappointment by the BOG (or if he is deemed ineligible) by January 2014, the search for a new president of Ryerson would begin. It would also trigger the hunt for a leader with a vision to improve or advance the revered Master Plan.

Julia Shin-Doi, general counsel and secretary of the BOG, says this vision has earned Levy the board’s “full support.”

“He focuses on reputation and sudents, and that’s very important to the university and how it has thrived,” Shin-Doi says.

Levy’s predecessor, Dr. Claude Lajeunesse, served as president of Ryerson for 10 years (September 1995 – August 2005). The longestserving president (and namesake of Kerr Hall,) Dr. H. H. Kerr, stood at the helm for 18 years, from Sept. 1, 1948 – June 30, 1966.

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