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BREAKING: U of A president David Turpin announces he will not seek reappointment after 2020

University of Alberta president David Turpin has announced that he will not seek reappointment when his term ends on June 30, 2020.

Turpin announced his intentions in a post on the administration-run blog, The Quad. In the post, he said he was making the decision now so the university will have sufficient time to search for a successor.

In his statement, Turpin said that he and his wife, Suromitra Sanatani, “needed several months to weigh multiple personal and professional factors,” and that he is grateful for his time in the university and broader Edmonton community. He did not specify any future plans.

“Although it is much too soon to know what the future will hold, when my term ends, Suromitra and I want to be able to explore and take on other opportunities that will allow us to continue to make lasting contributions to the community and Canada,” he said.

Turpin added that he will be focusing on his work with the U of A for the remainder of his term and that he is proud of what he’s accomplished during his time as president, such as the development of the university’s strategic plan.

Board of Governors chair Michael Phair and university president David Turpin at the press conference on March 15

During a press conference discussing the announcement, which took place at 2:30 p.m., Board of Governors chair Michael Phair said he’s hoping a successor is named before Turpin’s term ends.

While new regulations state that the U of A president’s salary cannot exceed $447,000, Phair said it will not impact the search for a successor.

“I don’t think [the cap on the president’s compensation] will negatively impact [the search] at all,” he said. “Being the president of the U of A has a prestige that you can’t get any other way.”

While some might think Turpin’s decision to not seek a new term is due to the cap on the president’s compensation, which would’ve reduced his salary from $500,000 to $447,000 he said the pay was not the the thing that motivated him as president.

“People that love these jobs, as I do, do it for the challenge and the opportunity to make a contribution to building a better community and a better Canada,” he said. “That’s what gets us up in the morning.”

Turpin was appointed as U of A president in November 2014, after a worldwide search by the university. Prior to moving to Edmonton, he served as the president of the University of Victoria from 2000 to 2013.

During his term, Turpin was accused by Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt of “lining his pockets” after a four per cent budget cut was implemented across all faculties last year. Later Schmidt apologized for his accusation, despite that, Turpin said he’s enjoyed working with the various governments he’s interacted with throughout his career.

“I just think that there are so many amazing things that happened, and I loved every day,” he said. “Some days more than others.”

As for the demonstration that took place outside his office on March 2018 protesting some of the fee increases and budget cuts passed that year, Turpin said the disagreements that he’s encountered during his time have been constructive.

“We should be so proud that we can have those disagreements, and still get up the next day and work together,” he said.

Students’ Union president Reed Larsen said he’s sad to see Turpin depart, and that Turpin has brought in a lot of new things to the university, including a new approach to governance. He added that representatives from the Students’ Union will be involved in the search for the next university president.

“We’re very thankful for president Turpin and the time that he spent at the University of Alberta,” Larsen said. “He was a community champion and was willing to sit down and speak with student representatives.”

University of Alberta president David Turpin has announced that he will not seek reappointment when his term ends on June 30, 2020.

Turpin announced his intentions in a post on the administration-run blog, The Quad. In it, he said he was making the decision now so the university will have sufficient time to search for a successor.

He added that he and his wife, Suromitra Sanatani, “needed several months to weigh multiple personal and professional factors,” and that he is grateful for his time in the university and broader Edmonton community. He did not specify any future plans.

“Although it is much too soon to know what the future will hold, when my term ends, Suromitra and I want to be able to explore and take on other opportunities that will allow us to continue to make lasting contributions to the community and Canada,” he said.

Turpin was appointed as U of A president in November 2014, after a worldwide search by the university. Prior to moving to Edmonton, he served as the president of the University of Victoria from 2000 to 2013.

Turpin added that he will be focusing on his work with the U of A for the remainder of his term and that he is proud of the work he accomplished during his time as president, such as the development of the university’s strategic plan.

Students’ Union president Reed Larsen said he’s sad to see Turpin depart, and that Turpin has brought in a lot of new things to the university, including a new approach to governance. He added that representatives from the Students’ Union will be involved in the search for the next university president.

“We’re very thankful for president Turpin and the time that he spent at the University of Alberta,” Larsen said. “He was a community champion and was willing to sit down and speak with student representatives.”

This article was updated on March 15 at 4:00 p.m.

Nathan Fung

Nathan Fung is a sixth-year political science student and The Gateway's news editor for the 2018-19 year. He can usually be found in the Gateway office, turning coffee into copy.

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