Rector resigns position

Michael Kealy Law ’01, was elected rector in 1998.
Michael Kealy Law ’01, was elected rector in 1998.

Rector Michael Kealy has these words of advice for the one who will follow in his footsteps: “two years goes by faster than you think, enjoy the experience.”

Kealy, who was elected to the highest student position at Queen’s in November of 1998, has announced his resignation. Although elected to a three-year term, Kealy, Law ’01 says he has decided to resign in time for the November referendum because if he held the position for another year, he would no longer be a student.

“For half a year I wouldn’t be a student and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for taking on that role if I couldn’t speak on behalf of students.”

As one of Queen’s inherited Scottish traditions, the rector represents both graduate and undergraduate students to the Board of Trustees and several Senate committees, advises students on academic and non-academic problems, and ensures accessibility to internal dispute resolutions mechanisms and support resources.

In an interview with The Journal, Kealy discussed some of his achievements over the past two years and tried to clear up some misconceptions about what the job entails.

“I know that in order to do the best job possible you have to make sure that you’re as informed as possible... It has been a challenge make sure that informed decisions are being made and that people understand the impact of these decisions. I suppose that’s really the crux and importance of student representation.”

Kealy stated that his goals over the past two years have focused on increasing the level of communication with the Board of Trustees and ensuring that students’ concerns are voiced at the committee level where he says it is often difficult to understand how exactly students will be effected by board decisions.

“If you’re not a student its hard to put yourself in their shoes even if you were a student five years ago. Its becoming increasingly difficult for me to understand what its like to be a first year student — times change.”

For the remainder of his term, aside from his involvement with the upcoming meeting of the Board of Trustees on October 14 and 15 discussing the rising cost of post-secondary education, Kealy is working on a Senate proposal which would require instructors to attend their examinations. According to research conducted by Kealy, 85 per cent of Queen’s instructors voted in favour of the proposal. However, he emphasized that the proposal which he will present to the Senate is still in its preliminary stages.

Despite the fact that Kealy refers to his time as Rector as “a defining feature” of his seven-year university career, he admits he’s ready to move on.

“I think I’ve learned as much as rector as I have through law school. I’ve learned how a university operates, how people make decisions, how people interact... I’ve also learned how much hard work is put into how our university is run, it’s a bittersweet thing, I always knew this article was coming.”

The fall referendum, which includes the election of the rector will be held on November 7 and 8. Nominations for the position will be accepted by the AMS Internal Affairs Commission between October 9 to 23, and campaigning begins on the 27.

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