British Columbia

UNBC president, vice-president off the job weeks after faculty strike

UNBC president Daniel Weeks is on indefinite medical leave from his position, while the VP of finance and chief negotiator Barb Daigle is retiring Friday.

UNBC president Daniel Weeks is on indefinite medical leave while VP Barb Daigle is retiring Friday

UNBC president Daniel Weeks is taking indefinite medical leave, six weeks after a contract dispute with the school's faculty association came to an end. (UNBC)

Two of the University of Northern British Columbia's highest-ranking administrators are stepping away from their jobs just six weeks after the end of a high-profile contract dispute with the school's faculty association.

UNBC president Daniel Weeks is taking indefinite medical leave, while vice-president Barb Daigle, who was the university's lead negotiator during the labour unrest, is retiring.

"I am dealing with some matters that I have put on hold for many, many weeks, but on the advice of my physician, I should no longer delay dealing with them," Weeks said in an email sent to university staff Wednesday afternoon. "The duration of this leave is unknown at this point."

In a separate email, sent Jan. 17, Weeks announced Daigle's plan to retire at the end of January.

Both Daigle and Weeks came under criticism in late 2019 as a contract dispute with the university's faculty association led to a strike that kept students out of classrooms for three weeks. Eventually a special mediator was appointed by the province to settle the conflict.

Dr. Geoff Payne, the university's vice-president of research and founding member of the Northern Medical Program, will step in as acting president in Weeks' absence. No plans to replace Daigle have been announced.

Weeks came to the university as president in 2014, following a five-year stint as a vice-president of the University of Lethbridge and a 16-year career at Simon Fraser University.

Daigle joined UNBC in 2015 as director of human resources, after a high-profile departure from the same role at the University of Saskatchewan following the firing, then rehiring, of a tenured professor as part of a university restructuring plan.

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