U of W faculty association raising questions about interim president

Association president Jeff Noonan said the news Douglas Kneale had been named interim president came as a "shock" because the presidential search committee has not communicated with staff for months.

Association critical of 'secretive' search for new president

Douglas Kneale, the University of Windsor's provost and vice-president academic is to assume the position of interim president and vice-chancellor on July 1. (University of Windsor)

The University of Windsor Faculty Association is questioning the "legitimacy" of the school's newly appointed interim president.

The university's board of governors announced Douglas Kneale would take over the role on July 1, while the committee looking for a replacement for outgoing president Alan Wildeman continues its work in the coming year.

Kneale was hired by the university in 2015 as provost and vice-president. 

Faculty association president Jeff Noonan said the news came as a "shock" because the committee has not communicated with staff for months.

"There's been a kind of growing frustration on campus that nobody has kind of a clear sense of what's going on," said Noonan. "We haven't really been kept apprised of the progress — or rather lack thereof — with regard to the presidential search."

Jeff Noonan is the president of the University of Windsor's Faculty Association. He said the lack of transparency around the school's selection of a new president is "frustrating." (Kaitie Fraser/CBC)

He's also concerned about the timing of the selection for this president because there is a lot at stake for the university.

"This is a vitally important moment in our history, we've got some positive momentum, we've been getting good press locally and nationally ... it's disappointing that the search has gone the way it has gone," he said. 

Questions raised about search process

Noonan said the association is demanding to know whether the search committee failed to find a candidate and why the faculty has been kept in the dark about the search.

He said the university communicated that one candidate had been chosen, but turned down the position for unidentifiable reasons. 

"One person turned it down and this seems to have stalled the entire search," said Noonan, adding that while the search committee has faculty representation on it, the board of governors does not. "We don't really have any representation on the body that made this decision."

University spokesperson John Coleman said the school cannot comment on why a candidate declined an offer.