Nova Scotia

NSCAD president removed after 1 year on the job

The president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Aoife Mac Namara, has been removed from her position. The decision came down on Thursday.

Members of faculty union executive 'shocked and appalled'

The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design has removed its president after one year in the position. (Robert Short/CBC)

Aoife Mac Namara, the president of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, has been removed from her position after one year.

The decision was effective June 26, according to a memo sent to the NSCAD community by the university's board of governors. The memo did not provide an explanation for the decision.

"Ordinarily, we would have advised members of our community in a more timely manner. However, we are respectful that this is a personnel matter and our priority was communication with Dr. Mac Namara," the memo said.

Ann-Barbara Graff has been appointed acting president.

"The Board would like to thank Dr. Mac Namara for her contributions over the past year, and for her help navigating the pandemic and positioning NSCAD for the year ahead ... We hope Dr. Mac Namara will continue to play a valuable role in our university's future," the memo said.

Faculty union responds

"The important thing from our perspective, first of all, is we thought she was doing a good job," said Mathew Reichertz, the head of the university's faculty union.

With the university moving to online teaching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the faculty union executive are "shocked and appalled" at both the decision and the timing.

Reichertz called the board's decision "opaque" and said its actions are not "in the best interest" of the university.

Reichertz said Mac Namara was in the middle of working on a strategy to address systemic racism at NSCAD.

"That's another blow in the middle of all of this," he said.

The board of governors released a statement on Thursday committing to diversity and inclusion, including an open call for board members every year.

Mac Namara was appointed to the position last July.

The faculty union is calling on the university's board of governors to "reverse their decision to remove Dr. Mac Namara and for far greater transparency about this and other decisions that impact students, staff and faculty," according to a release.