Western University president Amit Chakma faced colleagues, criticism and protestors Friday during a senate meeting — and, he apologized for his nearly $1-million salary.

Chakma has been under fire since Ontario's annual Sunshine List, which discloses public sector employees who make more than $100,000 annually, revealed he made $924,000 last year.

Nearly half that money was paid in lieu of taking an administrative leave. He recently volunteered to refund the school that portion of his 2014 salary.

Chakma on Friday apologized during a public speech at the monthly meeting of Western's senate.

"I stand before you profoundly humbled by — and deeply sorry for — the events of the past two weeks. And I am grateful for this opportunity to express my deepest regrets and most sincere apologies to you for the disruption the issue of my compensation has caused for our community," Chakma said. "I ask for your forgiveness."

It was his first public appearance since the Sunshine List was published March 28.

"Recognizing the mistake I made in accepting payment in lieu of administrative leave, I decided last week to repay the University of my own volition. It was the right thing to do. I also voluntarily agreed not to receive payment in lieu of administrative leave at the end of my second term," Chakma said. "But what I have heard loud and clear from your feedback is that the issues are not only about the money. The issues at hand are also about the way the University has been run under my leadership."

Several people the meeting stood and turned their back to Chakma when he began speaking and didn't take their seats again until Chakma finished.

Western Students

Several Western University students turn their backs on the school president Friday. (Kerry McKee/CBC)

After his speech, the president then took questions from the gallery.

French and linguistics professor David Heap tweeted he had no longer had confidence in Chakma.