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Western University president Amit Chakma vows to finish term

Article and Photo from CBC News
Posted: Jan 29, 2016 1:41 PM ET

Western University president Amit Chakma intends to carry on in his role to the end of his term, though he acknowledges there are still "lingering issues" relating to a controversy over his compensation.

"I intend to continue to do the job that I came to do," Chakma told CBC News in an interview on Friday.

Chakma found himself at the centre of a controversy that erupted when it was publicly revealed he had been paid nearly $1 million in a single year. The figure was disclosed through Ontario's so-called sunshine list.

His $924,000 earnings in 2014 were a result of Chakma being paid in lieu of taking an administrative leave he had been scheduled to take and also being paid his regular salary as president. 

He later pledged to refund the portion of the money that went toward that leave.

Chakma later faced a vote of non-confidence by members of the university senate. But he survived the vote.

"I had the support of the majority of the senate," said Chakma, who told CBC News he also enjoys "strong support" from the wider community at Western.

When asked what he learned from the controversy involving his salary, Chakma said "the key lesson there is that in a public position, you have to be sensitive."

Chakma said he has three-and-a-half years left on his term as president. He has been in that role since July 2009.

"These sort of jobs cannot be taken lightly. They take time. Typically, you know, to have some impact, you essentially need two terms," said Chakma.

"So I finished my first term, this is my second term and we will see how things go."