Western University president says, ‘sorry’ for nearly $1M salary

Amit Chakma says the controversy surrounding his pay has taken a "tremendous toll" on him and his family. Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

LONDON, Ont. – An Ontario university president who was paid almost $1 million – double his normal salary – because he did not take a sabbatical, admits that was a mistake and says he is “deeply sorry.”

The double pay received considerable criticism at Western University and beyond after president Amit Chakma was revealed last month as one of the province’s top public-sector earners in the annual sunshine list of public salaries over $100,000.

Chakma has not agreed to media interviews since that time and says today, two weeks later, that he wanted his first public comments to be to the university senate.

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A university senate meeting heard concerns about Chakma’s salary – half of which he has since returned – and it will discuss a non-confidence motion at next Friday’s meeting.

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Chakma urged people to “think of the human side” of the controversy surrounding his pay, which he says has taken a “tremendous toll” on him and his family.

Chakma says when he accepted the terms of his contract he “did not anticipate the groundswell of concern it would create.”

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