Should he stay or should he go?

Review is under way in reappointment of university president

Alan Shaver was appointed president of TRU in 2010. His first term as president is now up for review as the university considers whether or not he will continue in that capacity. (Photo courtesy TRU)

Alan Shaver was appointed president of TRU in 2010. His first term as president is now up for review as the university considers whether or not he will continue in that capacity. (Photo courtesy TRU)

An online survey to TRU staff, faculty and students recently tested public opinion on university president Alan Shaver, who is looking for re-appointment after his current term ends next August.

Brian Ross, TRU Board of Governors Chair and chair of the presidential review advisory committee, said over 300 responses were received “from all areas of the university community,” from Oct. 3 to 22.

The survey was also available to members of the wider Kamloops community with ties to TRU or dealings with the president’s office.

The Presidential Review Advisory Committee will meet in the third week of November to analyze the survey’s results. They will then make a recommendation to the board of governors on Shaver’s reappointment. Ross said the final decision on whether to reappoint will likely be made by the end of November.

On Oct. 15, TRU Faculty Association (TRUFA) president Tom Friedman penned a letter to Ross, which was then sent to various TRU faculty. In it, he was highly critical of Shaver’s performance, saying, among other things, that Shaver “is perceived as someone who does not engage effectively with student, faculty or staff,” and has created a “band of middle managers” that Friedman feels adds distance between TRU decision makers and those actually dealing with students. Friedman also expressed his opinion that Shaver should be doing more to resolve labour relations issues among faculty.

“While I do not believe that Dr. Shaver has deliberately created this level of mistrust, he does, I would argue, have the responsibility for restoring faculty faith in TRU by creating an atmosphere of transparency and accountability in all administrative decisions,” Friedman wrote.

The letter was sent out to TRU faculty while the survey was publically available. Ross said it is hard to tell if the letter affected survey results.

“I felt an open letter sent to people prior to them completing the survey on their own was inappropriate, but I don’t have any suggestion at this point that it’s made a difference [in the results of the survey],” Ross said.

Ross added that the letter, although it was sent out to TRU faculty, was in response to the survey request and, although it did not follow the recommended format for public feedback provided by the survey, the letter will be taken into account by the review committee in their recommendations to the board.