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Again to first place within the race for the rectorate of the UQAM

With neither candidate accepted, it’s a return to first place in the race for the rectorship of the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM), which aims to replace current rector Magda Fusaro, whose mandate ends on January 7 . The fact that the uqamish community cannot unite is questioned.

“After examining all the information brought to its attention, meeting with the groups affected by the consultation process and analyzing the results of the consultation of the university community, the committee has decided not to recommend any of the candidates for the position of rector to the Board of Directors,” reads a letter dated November 14, signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Simon Prévost.

Both candidates have been working at UQAM for many years. Catherine Mounier, Professor and Director of the Department of Life Sciences, was Vice Rector for Research, Creation and Diffusion from 2015 to 2020. His counterpart, Jean-Christian Pleau, is Vice Rector for Academic Life and has held several positions within the university.

The quality of the applications is not in question, explains Simon Prévost in an interview The duty. “What we found was that there was no consensus [dans la communauté] for one or the other, he said. In a way, you could call it a tie.” Mr. Prévost chairs the independent selection committee, made up of members from the university and from outside, that oversees the process.

From November 4th to 10th, an online consultation was held with professors, student councils, managers, unions and lecturers. This is not a vote, but is to help the committee choose. At the end of the voting, Catherine Mounier collected 297 votes from a total of 836 votes cast to 296 for Jean-Christian Pleau. Mme Mounier was mainly favored by professors and lecturers, while his opponent was favored by university executives.

“If there is no consensus, it is difficult for a selection committee to make a decision for the community,” emphasizes Simon Prévost. Such a situation already existed at UQAM in 2017. And doing another consultation as part of a race for the rectorate is no exception, he assures us.

“At every university, the processes are pretty intense,” he says. I have the feeling that what was proposed was actually not convincing. But does that mean it’s bad [à l’UQAM] ? I don’t think you can draw a conclusion from that.”

Big disappointment

In conversation with The duty, Catherine Mounier would have liked a different twist. “What disappointed me the most was the lack of teacher participation. And above all, the large percentage of people who don’t want one or the other,” she says.

About 193 of 666 teachers ticked the “None of these people” box. The turnout of the faculties was 57.17%, 1,165 of them were entitled to vote and thus by far the group with the most votes.

“The teachers’ union didn’t agree with either one, and I think that’s the result,” she said. The Union of Professors of the University of Quebec in Montreal (SPUQ) did not respond to our request for an interview.

Catherine Mounier says she fully understands the selection committee’s position. “Despite the fact that I had more votes, it doesn’t guarantee solid legitimacy, and I would have thought a lot about it if it had been offered to me,” she says.

Another internal and external call for applications will be launched in the coming weeks. The selection committee is meeting this week to set a schedule. “I can tell you without a doubt that January 7th isn’t the end,” says Simon Prévost. At that time we will appoint an interim rector. »

For its part, the teachers’ union (SPPEUQAM) denounced an “archaic and discriminatory” consultation process in a press release on Monday and called for its revision. Only 51 teachers were able to vote in the consultation, compared to 1165 on the part of teachers. “The 51 consulted lecturers thus represent 3.9% of those consulted for the race for the rectorate, while the members of SPPEUQAM represent 39.4% of all the staff of the institution”, we regret.

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