Ahead of their 10 a.m. meeting this morning, Western University's board of governors released the terms of reference for the independent review of President Amit Chakma's contract.
Justice Stephen Goudge will conduct a review of Chakma's contract to find out if Western's practices are in line with other universities and if Western has appropriate accountability and reporting procedures in place.
“The board has been listening closely to the concerns that have been raised about the president’s compensation since the release of the provincial salary disclosure report on March 27," Chirag Shah, chair of the board of governors, said in a press release. "We take our responsibility seriously with respect to the governance of Western University and look forward to receiving Justice Goudge’s recommendations.”
Goudge is specifically being asked about the "double payment" Chakma received last year. As part of his contract, he is entitled to a year of paid administrative leave or a payment in lieu of taking that leave at the end of the five-year contract. With his contract ending in June 2014, Chakma chose not to take an administrative leave this year and was instead paid double his usual salary. This garnered an immediate backlash from the campus community and beyond, leading to Chakma returning half of his salary and the review by Goudge.
Chakma and his administration have faced intense criticism for their handling of the situation and how they have run the university in the past five years. The two largest unions on campus, the faculty association and staff association, voted overwhelmingly in favour no confidence in Chakma and the chair of the board of governors, who initially supported the doubled salary. Chakma faced a no confidence motion at a special meeting of the senate last week, which he survived by a margin of 49-30 votes.
Goudge's review will focus solely on Chakma's contract and not the wider issues of governance and accountability that have been brought forward by the campus community in the wake of Chakma's salary disclosure. The board said they recognized this and following the review, they "will continue to work with campus leadership including faculty, staff, students, and alumni to strengthen and improve campus governance."
“There is an opportunity for Western to come out of this controversy as a much stronger organization to the benefit of faculty, staff, students and alumni,” Shah said.
The terms of reference for the review can be seen here.