This year Professor William Lahey became the 25th President of the University of King’s College.
Lahey is entering his term of presidency with a background in the fields of law and government. He has worked at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie for 15 years with plans to continue teaching during his presidency.
“King’s has been a place that’s taken a very distinctive approach both to learning in journalism and to learning in the commandments both through the Foundation Year Programme and the upper year programs,” said Lahey, when asked why he accepted the new position.
Students have spotted Lahey enjoying a meal in Prince Hall, attending FYP lectures, and walking his dog Kasey in the quad. He’s been getting to know the campus and its traditions alongside the new students.
“I think that King’s students have a lot of personality, are very friendly and they’re very community oriented,” he said.
Lahey hasn’t had the chance to attend all the events on campus so far, but he believes that being a part of the rich culture of the university will be an “invigorating experience.”
Lahey also takes an interest in student affairs and his living on campus has allowed him to see the effect high tuition costs have on students.
On Sept. 19th, the King’s Students Union hosted a protest for high tuition fees, putting up posters on which students wrote comments on how the high tuition rates are affecting them.
“I appreciate them, the way the comments and the nature of that protest revealed the real impact that the cost of higher education has on our students,” he said. “I think it’s very helpful. It’s very important for the president to see and hear those kinds of comments.”
According to King’s Student Union President Aidan McNally, the high tuition rates are the main barrier for students entering university. She claims that the KSU’s top priority is making higher education more accessible, which would also help to increase diversity on campus.
It’s currently a mystery whether or not president Lahey will be sharing the same mindset and approach on tuition fees as the union.
“His first test as president will be the upcoming vote in the fall on the tuition increase,” said McNally. Lahey acknowledges that even though he is aware of the struggle for tuition, he can’t make any promises at this time to lower tuition rates. He does however admit that more can be done in the area of scholarships, bursaries and other types of financial aid.
“We just simply don’t have the latitude as an institution to do that right now. Those [scholarships, bursaries, etc.] are all things that we have to continue to work on to make sure that higher education is as accessible as it can be,” he said.
The projected vote on the $500 tuition increase for FYP students is to take place on Oct. 13 at the next board of governors meeting, with the second increase to be voted on in 2017.
(Editor’s note: This article was featured in the print version of the Watch prior to the board of governors meeting on Oct. 13. At the meeting, the FYP tuition increase was voted down.)