President Due to Start Thursday Won't Start After All

August 31, 2016

Brock University, in Ontario, on Monday announced that an incoming president due to start her term on Thursday will not be assuming the presidency after all.

The statement from the chair of Brock’s Board of Trustees does not give a reason, other than to say the decision not to proceed with Wendy Cukier’s appointment as president and vice-chancellor was “mutual.” Cukier, the vice president of research and innovation at Ryerson University, in Toronto, would have been Brock’s first female president and the first Brock graduate to hold the role.

“Dr. Cukier is an outstanding alumnus and scholar, with a well-established record as a university leader,” John Suk, the board chair, said in a written statement. “We greatly appreciate her contributions to the university since her appointment was announced last December. The long transition process gave both parties an opportunity to work together and many positive developments ensued. Dr. Cukier brought to the University new opportunities that will be part of her legacy. However, both parties have determined through this process that it was best not to proceed with her appointment.”

Cukier did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment on Tuesday. 

The Brock University Faculty Association expressed concern about the development, noting: “we received essentially no information about the reasons for the failure of this appointment process and no insight about how to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.”

“For those of us who have talked with Dr. Cukier about her vision and plans for Brock, as well as those who were encouraged by her stated qualifications, commitment to action in areas such as equity and social justice, and expertise in university-business collaboration, the loss of Dr. Cukier is profoundly disappointing and frustrating,” the written statement from the Faculty Association said. “There were stirrings of optimism and hope that Brock would be revitalized and find new direction under her leadership. Instead, the sudden and last-minute loss has left many of us in a state of shock, confusion, and apprehension about what will happen next.”

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