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CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2005

Bishop's Faculty Vote No Confidence in Principal

Faculty at Bishop's University passed a motion of no confidence in principal Robert Poupart last month.

More than 60 per cent of the 121 faculty members voting supported the motion that "The Faculty Council of Bishop's University does not have confidence in the leadership of Robert Poupart," with 20 per cent voting against and 17 per cent abstaining.

Ron Yeats, chair of the council, said this was the largest vote ever at Bishop's. "In 37 years at Bishop's, I don't recall a larger turnout."

Following the vote, the council asked the Bishop's corporation (its board of governors) to convene, jointly with the council, a three-person independent commission on governance to bring recommendations to the council and the corporation "on how to deal with the present crisis in governance at Bishop's University."

Concerns about Poupart's leadership swept the Lennoxville, Que., university in the months before the vote. In late March, more than 50 staff signed an open letter to the principal reiterating their concerns.

"The perception of many people is that the last few months have seen, among other things, willful and probably illegal violation of the university's statutes (RORs), mistreatment of loyal employees, violations of the Québec Labour Code, personal intimidation, violation of accepted search committee procedures, irregular personal hiring of unsuitable personnel, financial irresponsibility and repeated factual misrepresentations to our governing board, the Executive Committee of Corporation. They see an escalating number of current and imminent lawsuits by employees against the administration," according to the letter.

CAUT Council has called on the Corporation of Bishop's University "to recognize the legitimacy of the non-confidence motion passed by the Faculty Council" and to join the council in appointing an independent panel of inquiry to review the principal's performance and actions.