Home Canada Athabasca University board fires president who fought Alberta government on staff relocations

Athabasca University board fires president who fought Alberta government on staff relocations

by News Desk
0 comment

University of Aqabasca President Peter Scott was fired Wednesday by the school’s board of directors after publicly opposing the state’s directive to drop the institution’s transition to virtual operations.

The board appointed Alex Clarke, dean of the university’s health department, as his successor.

Alex Clark was named the new president of Athabasca University on Wednesday. (Athabasca University)

Board chairman Byron Nelson cited privacy concerns when Scott declined to say why he was let go.

In an interview with CBC News, Nelson said, “While everything that happens at the board is confidential, the university itself, the board of the university, is looking forward to moving forward in line with its evolving vision.

“Dr. Scott has done his part in the puzzle and we are moving forward with Dr. Clark to continue growing the university.”

Clarke, who was working at the University of Alberta at the time, was a candidate in the recruitment process that made Scott a successful choice, Nelson said. Clark then had an interview and was hired as Dean a few months later.

Clark currently lives in Edmonton, but will be moving to Athabasca. Nelson said the need to live in town was written into Clark’s contract.

public battle

Scott took over as president on January 4, 2022. Shortly after arriving in Alberta from his previous job in Australia, he found himself in the middle of a controversy over the direction of the university.

A local grassroots organization reached out to the Alberta government, concerned about the impact of the near-virtual plan on the town’s economy.

The government got involved last spring. Former Prime Minister Jason Kenny promised residents of City Hall that the university would remain in Athabasca. The university’s executive team has been ordered to submit a plan to increase the number of staff living in the town.

A protracted and sometimes public battle between Scott and Higher Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides then ensued.

Nicolaides sacked chairman Nancy Laird and appointed former Progressive Conservative Party leader candidate Nelson as his successor. He canceled his four director appointments and replaced them with seven new ones. He said operating funds could be at risk if the university did not submit a plan.

Scott released a defiant video in August saying it would be 40 years behind schedule if the university reversed the hypothetical plan. Nicolaides said failure to submit a plan would put the university’s monthly operating funds at risk.

After months of negotiations, Nicolaides and the board finally signed a new investment management agreement in early December.

The agreement states that the university must employ 25 local employees and have half of the university management live in Athabasca within three years.

Scott’s dismissal by the board came nearly three weeks after his wife died of cancer. She had just been diagnosed in early December.

“Terrible,” said Nelson. “By today, I’ve given him time to deal with it.”

“Unfortunately, businesses around the world, including those at Athabasca University, are moving forward.

“This was a step we had to take. I will continue to give Dr. Scott all the respect he deserves, and he deserves it this time around.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Canadian Trends