Rector resignation planned since April

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Journal File Photo

Though Nick Day resigned from his post as rector on Sept. 1, the decision to resign was made with administrators in April.

A few weeks after he sent a controversial letter to Michael Ignatieff in March, Day said he received an email from University administrators. He said Principal Daniel Woolf emailed him on behalf of Chancellor David Dodge and Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Young.

“[Woolf] said, ‘I’ve had a meeting with these two guys, and I speak on behalf of them all in saying you
should resign,’” Day, MA ’12, said.

Principal Woolf declined to comment to the Journal.

Day said during the aftermath of sending the letter to Ignatieff, Woolf forwarded him several emails which made reference to the situation.

“University councilors and board members and wealthy alum, as [Woolf] put it, were emailing to demand what was being done about this ‘anti-Semite’ rector,” Day said.

Despite the vocal group who called for his resignation, Day said he had a growing number of supporters.

“There were [organizations] who had written and prepared all of these letters,” he said, adding that groups offered him their support to defend public discourse.

Day said this growing movement posed difficulty for those in the administration who were eager for his removal.

“These kind of actors don’t know what to do because they don’t work on principles, they work on the one principle of bureaucratic management,” Day said. “What you ended up with was the Principal, despite his earlier bluster, became unwilling to take decisive action.”

Day said Woolf was under pressure from University Council and the Board of Trustees to remove Day from office. In April, Day said he met with Woolf and University Secretary Georgina Moore.

“Essentially, in the interest of not going to another round of national media back and forth, I said ‘You as an institution have no right to take action on this,’” Day said.

The position of rector is elected by both graduate and undergraduate students.

Day said that in the meeting, Moore became flustered and told him he was in the wrong and would have to go.

Because of the administration’s outcry, Day said he had little choice but to leave Queen’s.

“[I said] I’m moving on from here anyways, spare the fucking circus and don’t make the mistake of trying to organize an oust, and this will go away eventually,” he said.

Day said Woolf accepted his offer to resign and set a mid-August deadline for Day’s resignation.

“He said ‘Given that you intend for your own reasons that you’re done with the job … I will tell the Board of Trustees and University Council simply that it’s dealt with,”he said. “He wanted to make sure
that I had tendered my intent to resign early.”

Though Day resigned, he said he felt bullied out of the position.

“They were forced to use tactics of intimidation, and just a level of harassment that only a nutcase would want to stay,” he said. “Who wants to continue to work on committees … when a vocal minority of a thousand have tried so hard to harass you.”

Moore said Day wasn’t pressured out of his position.

“He was elected to the position of rector, therefore it’s his responsibility to either fulfill that position or step down from it,” Moore said. “Those are the ground
rules and that’s what happened.”

Moore confirmed that she met with Day and Woolf in April before Day left for the summer.

“He talked about his position,” she said. “He felt that he probably could not continue.”

Moore said her understanding was that Day intended to resign.

She said she didn’t tell Day to resign in this meeting.

“My recollection is that he said, ‘I will find it very difficult to
continue in this position,’ ” she said. “So, a logical step from that would be ‘Well if you can’t do it then you have to step down.’ ”

Moore said Day had wanted the conversation they had that day to remain private. “It was not to be shared with others,” she said.

Following the meeting, Woolf told University Council and Board of Trustees that the situation “would be resolved in some way,” Moore said.

Though Moore said the
University received emails from people which questioned the follow-up to Day’s actions, she said
she didn’t forward any of these emails to Day.

Moore said it was understood that Day would resign in the summer, and that by August the University would expect to hear that he was stepping down.

“I got an email from the Principal saying that he’d accepted Nick’s resignation as of Aug. 31,” she said.

Moore said she didn’t know what would have happened if Day had decided to stay at the
University.

“I don’t think [his resignation] was that much of a surprise, I mean it was his decision. Obviously he
had to make a decision,” she said.

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