By Keith Capstick and Alanna Rizza
Brock University’s Faculty Association (BUFA) has filed a freedom of information request following a mutual decision for Wendy Cukier to not take office as Brock’s president.
BUFA made the FOI request after receiving multiple questions from their association members about how much the university’s presidential search cost and how much Cukier was paid to end her contract with Brock, said BUFA president Linda Rose-Krasnor.
“Brock is facing financial constraints, as are most universities, and financial accountability and responsible management are issues of continuing concern,” said Rose-Krasnor.
She said she hopes the FOI request will help inform the association about what happened and how “a similar painful situation could be best avoided in the future.”
Cukier, the former vice-president research and innovation, announced last December that she would be leaving Ryerson to become the next president of Brock University.
John Suk—chair of the Brock University board of trustees—called the news a “mutual decision” in a statement. “Dr. Cukier will continue her work on innovation, diversity and her active engagement with industry and community organizations. We wish her all success in her future endeavours,” Suk wrote.
Soon after the announcement, the Toronto Star wrote that Ryerson launched an external investigation last year to address allegations of workplace bullying by Cukier. In emails obtained by the Star, staff members claimed they were pressured into working overtime without pay and spoken to disrespectfully by Cukier. Many described the work environment as “toxic.”
According to Michael Forbes, Ryerson’s Interim Group Director, Communications, Ryerson does not comment on confidential HR matters. “When issues arise, as occurs in any workplace, the University takes them very seriously and takes the appropriate action using a robust set of policies and procedures that guide and facilitate a culture of respect, inclusion, civility, dignity and understanding,” he wrote in a statement to The Eyeopener.
Cukier will be taking an administrative leave of absence, which she is entitled to following her term as vice-president research and innovation. “[She will then] continue as a faculty member in our Ted Rogers School of Management,” Forbes wrote.