1. Western University President Amit Chakma was paid an additional $440,000 last year, it was announced on Friday, March 27.
2. His contract entitles him to a year of administrative leave or a payout equal to a year’s salary upon completion of his term.
3. The administrative leave/cash payout option is a consistent clause in university presidents’ contracts across Ontario for many — including for Chakma’s predecessor, who reportedly cashed in $700,000 upon retiring. In fact, Chakma himself already received payment for untaken administrative leave from the University of Waterloo, where he was paid an increased $738,000 in his final half-year as provost and an additional $500,000 a year after he had left.
4. Chakma's contract was renewed for a second term and typically this means the administrative leave option is carried through to the end of his term.
5. Instead of leaving the cash payout until the end of his second term (or until he retired), Chakma chose to take it now, at the beginning of his second term.
6. This payment, in addition to his base salary and a 10 per cent bonus, made Chakma the fourth highest paid public sector employee in Ontario in 2014.
7. There was an immediate public backlash to the news, with a petition garnering over 5,700 signatures and a local MPP bringing the issue to Queen’s Park.
8. On Wednesday, April 1, Chakma announced that he would be giving back the $440,000 payment from last year and foregoing the option for payment he is entitled to in 2019.
9. The board of governors also announced they hired a retired judge to review presidential compensation at Western.
10. On Thursday, April 2, UWOFA, which represents unionized faculty at Western, voted overwhelmingly to endorse a largely symbolic motion of non-confidence in Chakma and Chirag Shah, chair of the board of governors.