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UWOFA calls for Chancellor’s resignation

January 25th, 2021



(London, Ont.)— The union representing faculty members at Western University is calling for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Hasenfratz, saying her apology for taking a holiday trip outside Canada mid-pandemic is not good enough.

Western Board Chair Rick Konrad said in a statement Sunday that the Chancellor had been censured by the board for taking the trip against public health advice, but stopped short of asking for her resignation, calling the Chancellor’s decision to ignore directions given to the Western community a “teaching and learning moment.”

“Calling this a ‘teaching and learning moment’ is absurd,” said UWOFA President Beth MacDougall-Shackleton, “because the only lesson being conveyed is that a gross double standard exists — if you’re wealthy, you play by different rules.”

Some Western students have been threatened with discipline for breaking the university’s code of conduct following parties held in contravention of public health rules.

“The Board of Governors decision sends a terrible message to our students,” said MacDougall-Shackleton, “and will undermine Western’s reputation and credibility in the community. The decision will reinforce a stereotype that Western is a country club university where donating gets you a free pass, or where power of position entitles some to be exempt from public health guidelines.”

MacDougall-Shackleton added that the role of Chancellor is a symbolic honour, recognizing high standing in the broader community. Because of that it is important to uphold community standards for integrity, leadership, and care. The Chancellor failed to meet this standard.

The University of Western Ontario Faculty Association is a union representing about 1,500 faculty members and 50 librarians and archivists at the University of Western Ontario in London.


Vanessa Frank, Communications Officer