Volume 96, Issue 75
Thursday, February 12, 2003

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Mercer resigns as VP-administration

By Emmett Macfarlane
Gazette Staff

Western's VP-administration, Peter Mercer, has decided to step down after eight years in the position.

"I had contemplated this for some time," Mercer said.

"There's a natural rhythm to life in administration," he said, adding it is common for individuals to return to teaching or private life.

Mercer said he is proud that Western has been an increasingly vibrant place, even with the major budget cuts from the mid-1990s. "I would say the thing I'm proudest of was the way [everyone in administration] has pulled together in the last seven to eight years."

Mercer said he looks forward to returning to teaching law and conducting research.

Western President Paul Davenport said Mercer has been an outstanding member of the administrative team. "He's had responsibility over key portfolios during a critical time."

"He also played a key role in that first faculty [collective] agreement," Davenport said. "[Mercer] has also, in his role as general counsel, helped me and other members of administration with advice."

Davenport said Western will conduct a comprehensive search to find a qualified candidate to replace Mercer as VP-administration. "We will set up a search committee," Davenport explained.

The exact criteria for the job – including leadership skills, an understanding of finances, team work and the ability to inspire – will be determined by the committee, Davenport said.

University Students' Council President Chris Sinal said he has had a good relationship with Mercer for nearly three years. "I've known Peter Mercer since my work as the chair on the Ad Hoc Senate Committee to review the draft Code of Student Conduct," Sinal said. "From a professional standpoint, I've always found him to be accommodating.

"Whenever there was a conflict between the USC and the university, he's been very open to suggestions and working to [relieve] those differences," Sinal noted, adding the good relations between administration and the USC are in no small part due to Mercer's performance. "Any decision he [ever] made was because he thought it was the best thing for students at Western."

Mercer will fulfill his obligations until he officially steps down on Aug. 31, 2003.

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