By Robyn Fiorda & Shaian Martin
Ryerson’s former vice-president of research and innovation is due to return to the university following the cancellation of her appointment as the first female president at Brock University.
Wendy Cukier will return as a faculty member at the Ted Rogers School of Management in September of 2017. Cukier is currently on post-administrative leave from Ryerson, after leaving last year to take a position as president at Brock.
On Aug. 29, John Suk, chair of Brock’s board of trustees, announced Cukier and Brock would mutually part ways. On Sept. 2, the Toronto Star reported that Ryerson had called in an external investigator to address allegations of workplace bullying by Cukier in August 2015.
Public Policy Forum’s senior vice-president, Julie Cafley, has studied the hiring and firing of university presidents and said it is “pretty typical” for presidents to return to universities as faculty members after their appointments as presidents.
Cafley said she finds it “surprising” that the cancellation was announced so close to the start of Cukier’s appointment. She said she has questions about why an investigation into potential workplace misconduct during Cukier’s time at Ryerson – if that occurred – was not discovered during the hiring process at Brock.
“Brock University did upward of 30 different reference checks to look into her character and to ask questions, so I find it a bit surprising that none of this came out in her reference checks before they hired her,” said Cafley.
Cafley added that she thinks that “there’s a lot to uncover with that story,” referring to the details of the appointment cancellation.
Brock’s faculty union has filed a freedom of information request into how much Brock paid for the presidential search and whether the university made a payout to Cukier.