WINNIPEG – The head of Manitoba’s largest college won’t be headed back to school this fall.
Red River College’s president, Stephanie Forsyth, is leaving the school according to a statement Wednesday from the college’s Board of Governors.
“Ms. Forsyth will not be continuing in her role as President of Red River College for personal and family reasons,” said board chair Richard Lennon.
Stephanie Forsyth has been president of RRC since 2010, and her tenure was often marked by controversy.
She was criticized for her personal expenses and an alleged hostile atmosphere. There was also a $2 million projected budget shortfall under her leadership this spring. The projected deficit prompted the province to review the college’s financial and human resources issues.
The province’s education minister ordered a review of financial and human resources issues at RRC. Minister James Allum won’t say if Forsyth may have caught wind of the findings, only that it should be finished soon and released early this fall.
“We expect that recommendations will be made to improve transparency, accountability, financial responsibility,” said Education Minister James Allum.
Red River says it will take whatever the findings are seriously.
“Certainly as a board we’ve been happy to cooperate throughout the process and if there are any recommendations that come out of it we are happy to embrace them and look at them and move forward,” said Lennon.
Global News reported in March 2013 that Forsyth is paid $261,005 a year, about a $100,000 more than the province’s premier. The huge salary added fuel the controversy over Forsyth’s expense claims, and an exodus of senior staff at the school during her tenure.
Forsyth responded to the 2013 controversy by saying she welcomes a review of her business expenses from the college’s board of governors. She promised to repay two of the questionable items revealed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation: a pair of $200 golf shoes and a driver’s license fee.
In a statement sent to Global News Forsyth says “I acknowledge that golf shoes are an unusual item to submit but they were and are ONLY used for the College business. However, I understand some people may find the expense questionable, so I will re-pay this expense.”
The statement acknowledges also that her $50 driver’s license expense made in 2011 was paid in error and said she would pay that back immediately. The statement does not acknowledge any other specific expenses.
The college is a publicly funded institution, with Manitoba’s NDP government footing much of the bill.