Fire the NSCAD Board of Governors & Reinstate President Dr. Aoife Mac Namara

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On Sunday June 28, the Chairman of the NSCAD University Board of Governors announced that they had terminated Dr. Aoife Mac Namara in the role of University President on Friday, June 26, 2020.

The Board offered no proper justification for such extreme action, citing only “personnel” matters.

Dr. Mac Namara was in the process of implementing significant and much needed positive change at NSCAD, including initiating a project to recognize and redress systemic and structural racism at all levels of the university.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni, artists, educators and friends of NSCAD locally, nationally and internationally have been stunned and outraged, and are calling for the reinstatement of Dr. Mac Namara as President.

The response of the Board of Governors of NSCAD to calls for greater inclusiveness and transparency begins with shooting the messenger and does not get better. 

Having fired an effective and hands-on president during a global pandemic, the Board is recklessly endangering the future of the University and exposing it to significant financial and future risk. Not only must staff, students and faculty pivot without clear leadership immediately into an online environment--a challenge for many studio-based arts at the best of times, but the narrowly balanced University budget will, thanks to the Board’s actions, certainly incur significant additional legal, search and severance charges, and consequent faculty and student unrest.  Worse still, from a risk-management perspective, the Board’s ill-considered actions will certainly significantly erode the confidence of funding bodies, governments and others, including potential future leaders, in the stability and sustainability of the institution. 

If the central role of the Board of Governors is to manage risk and establish good governance, this Board has failed miserably. 

Friends of NSCAD is calling on the government of Nova Scotia to intervene and to put a stop to the irresponsible and ill-considered actions of the NSCAD Board of Governors. We are asking that they Reinstate Dr. Aoife Mac Namara as President, and FIRE the Board-- or at the very least, remove the current leadership of the Board, and establish clear protocols for transparency. This is the perfect opportunity, as well, to act on the call of an open letter from NSCAD's student union, which demands, among other things, that the NSCAD Board of Governors move to halt and respond to structural institutional racism by reserving Board vacancies for BIPOC applicants. 

What can you do?

Register your outrage.

Sign the petition. 

Tell us why you are signing.

Post to social media. 

#reinstateaoife #firethenscadboard

Write letters deploring the actions of the Board to:

  • Louise Anne Comeau, Chair of the Board:
  • Sean Kelly, Vice Chair of the Board:
  • Hon. Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia:
  • Hon. Labi Kousoulis, Minister of Labour & Advanced Education:
  • Hon. Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities Culture and Heritage:
  • Hon. Justin Huston, Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs and Deputy Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage:
  • Hon. Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs & Public Service Commission:

Friends of NSCAD is an ad hoc group of faculty, staff students, alumni and concerned citizens. Launched in 2011, its mission is to promote the continued existence of NSCAD University as Canada’s leading autonomous art and design institution. We won our fight to remain an independent art school in 2012; now we’re back to #firethenscadboard.