Unsigned: evaluating the role of the chancellor

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Laurier recently elected a new chancellor, which seems to be a figurehead role in our university, though the average student doesn’t know what this job entails.

Canada does seem to still take a lot of those symbolic roles from Great Britain.

This week, Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children landed on the west coast for their visit of Canada to much fanfare.

Other than being well-loved celebrities and symbolic figureheads, what do they actually do for our country? Perhaps the connection to royalty is a bit outdated.

Though it isn’t easy to get rid of the royals—look to Australia—they aren’t doing any harm, they also don’t seem to be doing anything constructive either.

They’re not doing anything, which is why we’re questioning their relevance.

Chancellors were originally figureheads in universities of the United Kingdom, where royalty endorses the specific university. Maybe it makes more sense there, where they’re actually connected to the institutions they support.

But chancellors here? The average student has no idea what they do.

Considering they have a very important job in our post-secondary institutions, you’d think we’d know what their job actually is, other than signing the diplomas of hundreds of students they never met.

The chancellor is not connected to students until the very last moments of their time at Laurier.

Through convocation, we meet the chancellor over the professors and professionals who inspired us and pushed us to achieve over our years in our degrees.

Why?

If this is a symbolic role, teach us about the symbolism.

Help the students to understand why this role is so vital to the function of Laurier and other universities in Canada.

The question is not whether or not this person’s job is important, the question is: why don’t students know what this job even entails?

With Eileen Mercier stepping up to the position, we are excited to see our questions answered.

We are hopeful of a new, strong relationship between the new chancellor and the students of Laurier.

Correction made on September 30: The chancellor is an unpaid position. They do not earn more than most professors. 

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