So many will have heard that the President of The University of Western Ontario Western University, Amit Chakma, was paid $924,000 last year. This was the result of a clause in his contract that allowed him to work through a year of administrative leave and be paid for it, or « double dipping » his ordinary annual salary.

It won’t surprise anyone who knows how modern universities operate that this would be treated as a major PR snafu, and no doubt a whole team of comms people swung into action on how to handle the damage control.

Well, wait no further, because Western’s Board of Governors has reacted to this huge waste of money by…. drum roll… throwing more money into the fire! That’s right kids, today Western announced it has retained a former judge to examine the contract. I’m assuming two things: 1) this isn’t an April Fool’s joke, and 2) they’re paying the judge for this review. If someone tells me that isn’t the case, I’ll be sure to update this post and apologize. Alternatively, I, and many others I’m sure, would be very interested to hear how much this review is costing the university.

Because here’s the problem: no one was suggesting that the President’s contract was legally problematic; people just (rightly) thought the university was fiscally irresponsible to ever offer such a sweet deal. So in an obvious attempt to put out a fire precipitated by its own budgetary excess, it sure sounds like the university has decided more waste is the answer.

Emmett Macfarlane
Emmett Macfarlane est professeur adjoint de science politique à l'Université de Waterloo. Ses recherches sont axées sur les liens entre gouvernance, droits et politiques publiques, avec un intérêt particulier pour l'incidence de la Charte des droits et libertés, et le rôle de la Cour suprême.

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