The chair of Brescia’s board of trustees sent a letter to faculty on Saturday addressing growing concern from the community over principal Colleen Hanycz’s double payment in 2013.
The chair, Liz Hewitt, was responding to a letter published by the Brescia Faculty Association on April 17, questioning the principal’s $444,386 payout and drawing similarities between Hanycz’s contract and the recent backlash Western president Amit Chakma faced due to his own 2014 double payment.
In the faculty association’s open letter, it stated principal Hanycz’s doubled salary comprises a significantly larger proportion of Brescia’s budget than President Chakma’s does at Western.
“The payment of such a large sum of money to one individual draws resources away from Brescia’s core mission of educating women,” said Dennis Hudecki, president of the BFA. “We assume the budget from which the double salary was drawn came, at least in part, from tuition paid by students and their families, who had no idea that Brescia funds would be spent in this way.”
The letter added Brescia will soon be conducting a search for a new principal and the BFA urges Brescia’s board of trustees to explicitly prohibit pay in lieu of leave provisions in any future contracts.
Hewitt, writing on behalf of the board of trustees, replied that the board welcomes open dialogue in the course of its search for a new principal, and acknowledges the expression of concern over compensation. Hewitt added, however, the recruitment of exceptional leadership must remain competitive at the time that a new contract is negotiated.
“We believe that the board was successful in 2008 in not only attracting such a leader but also in keeping in mind its fiscal responsibility,” Hewitt said. “As of 2013 the principal’s compensation was still among the lowest of principals/presidents in Ontario.”
Hewitt claims that under Hanycz’s tenure Brescia experienced many positive changes such as an increasing profile, increasing enrolment and a new residence, and added Hanycz is soon to receive a YMCA Women of Excellence award.
“Dr. Hanycz has no reason to apologize and calls for her to return those monies will not be entertained by the board,” Hewitt said. “We have celebrated much growth and success over the course of Dr. Hanycz’s tenure at Brescia, and we will continue to celebrate her accomplishments …We encourage the BFA to join us in those celebrations.”
The faculty association maintains the real problem was the board and the principal agreeing to the double salary provisions in the contract in the first place.
“This is especially troubling given that the Brescia community has been told repeatedly by college administrators over the past few years that Brescia’s financial position is precarious,” Hudecki emphasized. “It is important to everyone who believes in Brescia’s mission and who strives to protect its reputation that steps be taken to ensure that this problem will not arise again.”