Regents deposed

Terry Roberts
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Terminations on MUN's board part of renewal process, Burke says

A provincial government decision to remove four members of the Board of Regents last week before their terms expired was part of an ongoing renewal process for the body that governs Memorial University, says Education Minister Joan Burke.

She said the decision was nothing personal and was no reflection on the abilities of Mary Broderick of Baie Verte, Judy White of Conne River, Kathie Thoms of St. John's and Gaylene Buckle of Corner Brook.

Joan Burke

A provincial government decision to remove four members of the Board of Regents last week before their terms expired was part of an ongoing renewal process for the body that governs Memorial University, says Education Minister Joan Burke.

She said the decision was nothing personal and was no reflection on the abilities of Mary Broderick of Baie Verte, Judy White of Conne River, Kathie Thoms of St. John's and Gaylene Buckle of Corner Brook.

Broderick's and Thoms' terms were not due to expire until 2011, while Buckle still had a year left and White's term was to run until October 2009.

Burke said the government has full authority to make such changes.

"We just decided we're at a point where there is a renewal going on at the board level, and that's basically our reason," Burke said.

The board consists of 30 volunteer members, including 17 that are appointed by the provincial government.

There have been nine new appointments in the past month.

St. John's lawyer Bob Simmonds was appointed chairman of the board Nov. 18. He replaced Gil Dalton, whose term had expired.

Dalton was at the centre of a public controversy over the search for a new MUN president. He was criticized for inviting government officials to become involved in the process, setting off a debate over the university's autonomy.

Burke rejected two presidential candidates, including acting president and vice-chancellor Eddy Campbell, who was the board's preferred choice to replace Axel Meisen.

Meanwhile, while some recent appointments to the Board of Regents filled actual vacancies, on Dec. 11, Burke announced that Mary Cormier of Corner Brook, Michelle Day of Grand Falls-Windsor, Noreen Greene-Fraize of St. John's and Debbie Singleton of Happy Valley-Goose Bay would join the board. Burke thanked outgoing members for their service, but there was no reference to the fact that Broderick, White, Thoms and Buckle were being dismissed.

Burke said she called Broderick to inform her personally of the decision.

"She's certainly been a strong supporter of this government and put a lot of time and work and commitment into the Board of Regents," Burke said. "It's just we're at a point right now where government does have the authority to appoint people ... and we just thought it would be timely to put some new members on the board."

Broderick could not be reached Wednesday. Buckle was also unavailable for comment, but it's believed she asked to be removed from the board.

Broderick was also the vice-chairwoman of an ad hoc committee of the Board of Regents set up to recommend changes to the Memorial University Act to ensure autonomy for the institution, especially as it relates to the role of the provincial government in the appointment of a president.

The committee was to present its report to the board of regents on Dec. 11, and then to the university's senate. But the board agreed to defer receipt of the report until its Feb. 5, 2009 meeting because of the "complicated and intricate nature of this topic" and in light of recent changes to the board, Simmonds said in a letter Tuesday to Glenn Collins, secretary of the MUN senate.

Burke denied that Broderick's association with the ad hoc committee, or the contents of the report, had anything to do with the decision to drop her from the board.

"There was nothing I can point to in particular that would have precipitated the replacement of any of the people on the board, and I certainly thanked Mrs. Broderick personally when we did the transition," Burke said.

"There is a process of renewal going on at the board of regents; we have a new chair."

The report, depending on its contents, may further heighten tensions between the government and those who advocate for greater MUN autonomy.

The province, which has final approval on who gets the job of university president, appears unwilling to loosen its grip.

Grand Bank MHA Darin King recently introduced a private member's bill in the House of Assembly requiring that the board of regents, in consultation with the university senate, forward a list of the names of candidates for university president to the cabinet for approval, and not just the final choice of the search committee, as has always been tradition.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Corner Brook, Baie Verte Conne River Happy Valley Goose Bay

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    To all Regents:

    Watch your back, Joan is getting out the long knives!

  • Starr
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    How do you spell c-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n?
    Oh well, give JB enough 'rope' and eventually she'll hang herself.

  • Craig
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Just change the name of the place to MUD - Memorial University of Danny - and get it over with already.

    Absolutely pathetic....

  • Degree?
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Keep going... you'll soon have all the opposition removed from the Board. With a mockery made of the appointment of a new president and the political interference constantly evident to eliminate academic integrity, I am honestly now ashamed of the worthless piece of paper hanging on my wall that was formerly a university degree. A complete disgrace!

  • Reg
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    I cannot see what the government has to gain by taking over the university like this. I truly do not know what they are trying to prove. A candidate would have been approved by now if it were not for the governments interference. As part of a free society educational institutions like the university need to be free from political interference. For at least once I cannot support Danny's government on this. This is not a renewal, but a farce. Memorial University is slowly but surely becoming a crown corporation and will have to report directly to the government. A sad day for NL.

  • fred
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I have to agree with Degree?

    Does anyone have a match? I've got a piece of paper to start a fire.

  • George
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Typical of what happens when an individual is placed on a pedestal. There is no opposition in the house and the electorate of the province created that situation. The result is that it allows people like Williams and Burke to throw their weight around.

    They will get their people there and do as they wish.

    So much for higher education!

  • Rob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Unacceptable.
    Government will stop at nothing to rationalize Burke's blundering ways, and to fill the Board of Regents with people who think like Burke, or bow to her directions under the threat of dismissal and public embarrasment. A frightening reality.
    Her obvious arrogance and muscle flexing, combined with her inability to recognize her own limitations, are slowly but certainly eroding Memorial's, and our education system's, quality and reputation. Burke's only rationalization was we have the authority . History is full of disasters resulting from misused power.
    Today, the intoxicating power of this government lets them get away with it. The unfortunate legacy of this government's trademark management by fear will be a fine institution weakened in quality and reputation to a point where it will take years, if not decades to recover.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Cute! Burke found a way to get her best friend from Grand Falls-Windsor, Michelle Day on the Board. Way to go Joan, you're just like the rest of them!

  • Mercedes
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I've got two to add to the fire! I was so pleased with the premiers actions re Abitibi, and now this! Unacceptable!

  • Len
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Re: university interference: ..remove four members ; ..renewal process ; nothing personal ; no reflection on the abilities ; ..government has full authority .
    Right out of George Orwell. What's next? Why bother with a Board at all? Why bother with a president? Scary stuff in a democracy. Will MUN still be a real university? Is it launching forth into the deep doo? Time to remove Ms. Burke.

  • Chris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    It appears that the Williams administration is tightening the screws to ensure it gets their man (or woman) to run what will be known as Danny Williams U. The government can try to justify any decision it makes, but this smells to the high heavens. Replacing Broderick and others from the board shows a blatant disregard for a process that is fair, open and well, legal. Broderick's dismissal removes the chance of hearing a voice of dissent. If anyone is to be dismissed, it should be Burke.

    Replacing members of the Board of Regents with Williams' cronies only shows the arrogance of the government and it's disdain for anyone with an opposing view. There are enough bobble heads in the House of Assembly; do we need more on the Board of Regents?

    And how can anyone take the new President seriously if he or she is appointed through a flawed process reeking of political interference. The new President will take the position with strings attached literally.

  • Terry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    To all Regents:

    Watch your back, Joan is getting out the long knives!

  • Starr
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    How do you spell c-o-r-r-u-p-t-i-o-n?
    Oh well, give JB enough 'rope' and eventually she'll hang herself.

  • Craig
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Just change the name of the place to MUD - Memorial University of Danny - and get it over with already.

    Absolutely pathetic....

  • Degree?
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    Keep going... you'll soon have all the opposition removed from the Board. With a mockery made of the appointment of a new president and the political interference constantly evident to eliminate academic integrity, I am honestly now ashamed of the worthless piece of paper hanging on my wall that was formerly a university degree. A complete disgrace!

  • Reg
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    I cannot see what the government has to gain by taking over the university like this. I truly do not know what they are trying to prove. A candidate would have been approved by now if it were not for the governments interference. As part of a free society educational institutions like the university need to be free from political interference. For at least once I cannot support Danny's government on this. This is not a renewal, but a farce. Memorial University is slowly but surely becoming a crown corporation and will have to report directly to the government. A sad day for NL.

  • fred
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I have to agree with Degree?

    Does anyone have a match? I've got a piece of paper to start a fire.

  • George
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Typical of what happens when an individual is placed on a pedestal. There is no opposition in the house and the electorate of the province created that situation. The result is that it allows people like Williams and Burke to throw their weight around.

    They will get their people there and do as they wish.

    So much for higher education!

  • Rob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    Unacceptable.
    Government will stop at nothing to rationalize Burke's blundering ways, and to fill the Board of Regents with people who think like Burke, or bow to her directions under the threat of dismissal and public embarrasment. A frightening reality.
    Her obvious arrogance and muscle flexing, combined with her inability to recognize her own limitations, are slowly but certainly eroding Memorial's, and our education system's, quality and reputation. Burke's only rationalization was we have the authority . History is full of disasters resulting from misused power.
    Today, the intoxicating power of this government lets them get away with it. The unfortunate legacy of this government's trademark management by fear will be a fine institution weakened in quality and reputation to a point where it will take years, if not decades to recover.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Cute! Burke found a way to get her best friend from Grand Falls-Windsor, Michelle Day on the Board. Way to go Joan, you're just like the rest of them!

  • Mercedes
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I've got two to add to the fire! I was so pleased with the premiers actions re Abitibi, and now this! Unacceptable!

  • Len
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Re: university interference: ..remove four members ; ..renewal process ; nothing personal ; no reflection on the abilities ; ..government has full authority .
    Right out of George Orwell. What's next? Why bother with a Board at all? Why bother with a president? Scary stuff in a democracy. Will MUN still be a real university? Is it launching forth into the deep doo? Time to remove Ms. Burke.

  • Chris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    It appears that the Williams administration is tightening the screws to ensure it gets their man (or woman) to run what will be known as Danny Williams U. The government can try to justify any decision it makes, but this smells to the high heavens. Replacing Broderick and others from the board shows a blatant disregard for a process that is fair, open and well, legal. Broderick's dismissal removes the chance of hearing a voice of dissent. If anyone is to be dismissed, it should be Burke.

    Replacing members of the Board of Regents with Williams' cronies only shows the arrogance of the government and it's disdain for anyone with an opposing view. There are enough bobble heads in the House of Assembly; do we need more on the Board of Regents?

    And how can anyone take the new President seriously if he or she is appointed through a flawed process reeking of political interference. The new President will take the position with strings attached literally.