Due date for the big cheese
By Brendan Howe
Western President Paul Davenport's future at the university is in the hands of an eight-member committee who will review the president and make a recommendation to Western's Board of Governors by the end of the calendar year.
The committee will listen to a cross-section of people within and outside the university and make a recommendation concerning Davenport's re-appointment, said Jan VanFleet, secretary of the Board of Governors and Senate.
Davenport began his term as university president July 1, 1994 and will complete his first five-year term at the end of June, 1999.
University Students' Council President Ryan Parks endorsed the idea of reviewing the president of the university but said he is not confident with the composition of the committee.
"Dean Jeffrey Stokes sits on the committee, so it's a bit of an awkward situation. He's deciding if his boss will be re-appointed," Parks said, (adding he wished the committee was more broadly based.)
Stokes is the dean of music and also sits on the Board of Governors. The committee is composed of eight people who all sit on the Board, including chair Bill Peel who said the committee plans to meet about every two weeks.
"I think [Davenport] is doing an outstanding job. That's the general feeling of the Board of Governors," Peel said.
The USC plans to sit down with students to get feedback on their opinion about Davenport, Parks said. He explained he will be giving a submission to the committee but wants student input first.
"There are various issues where we don't see eye to eye but it appears to me that overall he has done a good job," Parks said. He explained one of the issues they did not agree on was the deregulation of tuition fees.
Davenport refused to comment on the review or whether he will accept re-appointment if it is offered to him.
This is the first time in the history of the university a president will be reviewed for re-appointment under official measures, VanFleet said. She explained that Davenport is reviewed every year by the Board of Governors but this review is more involved.
"It's not a formality, it's part of a contractual requirement that Davenport has. The review is not routine at all," Peel said.
The committee was appointed in June and Peel said they should have no problem making their recommendation by the end of December.