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Union calls for reversal of decision to remove president of NSCAD University

HALIFAX — The union that represents faculty at NSCAD University in Halifax is challenging the school's decision to remove its president without providing an explanation for the sudden move.
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HALIFAX — The union that represents faculty at NSCAD University in Halifax is challenging the school's decision to remove its president without providing an explanation for the sudden move.

The Faculty Union of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design issued a statement on the weekend saying the decision taken by the school's board of governors was "opaque" and should be reversed.

On Sunday, the chairwoman of the board, Louise Anne Comeau, sent an internal memo saying Aoife Mac Namara was no longer president as of June 26.

Mac Namara was appointed president on July 3, 2019.

"Ordinarily, we would have advised members of our community in a more timely manner," Comeau said in the statement. "However, we are respectful that this is a personnel matter and our priority was communication with Dr. Mac Namara."

Comeau's statement did not indicate the reasons behind Mac Namara's departure.

A spokesperson for the university said Monday the board was focused on the appointment of an interim president, and it will be sharing details with the university community in the days to come.

"Until then, the university will not be providing further comment, in accordance with our confidentiality and privacy policy," the spokesperson said in an email.

The union said the board removed Mac Namara without an explanation or consultation.

"It is not apparent why Dr. Mac Namara has been fired," union president Mathew Reichertz said in an interview Monday. "We have no information about why the board made such a decision."

Reichertz said Mac Namara was doing a good job of reaching out to the community while managing at a difficult time.

"In the middle of the university trying to pivot to online learning in the middle of COVID-19, where there were all kinds of complex issues that needed to be addressed, the president engaged everyone in trying to solve these problems," he said.

"That's why there's such a outcry ... Dr. Mac Namara was engaging all of the various members of the community to make sure that we were prepared for dealing with COVID-19."

In an earlier statement, Reichertz said the union "has been especially impressed by Dr. Mac Namara's stand in support of Black Lives Matter, and her efforts to bring transparency to the actions of the administration and the board."

The board of governors announced Sunday that Ann-Barbara Graff had been appointed as acting president.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press




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