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Councillors believe college president should live in Stephenville

William Radford is president of the College of the North Atlantic.
William Radford is president of the College of the North Atlantic. - Submitted

No one wants to talk about which region of the province William Radford lives, including the president of the College of the North Atlantic himself.

The college won’t talk, nor will the provincial government that hired him.

All people seem to know if that he doesn’t live in the Stephenville area, despite the college’s headquarters being located in the west coast community.

“To me, college headquarters is in Stephenville and that’s where the president and its senior people should be,” said Stephenville Coun. Mike Tobin, a former member of the board of governors of the college.

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Tobin said he is aware the president has to travel but he would have to do that regardless of where he considers home. Since Radford has an office and a secretary in Stephenville, Tobin says he should be living here as well

Tobin served on the board during the presidencies of both Ron Sparkes and Pamela Walsh, who both lived in Stephenville.

He believes having the president live in Stephenville should be included in the College Act,

Coun. Laura Aylward agrees. While nothing in the College Act states the president has to live in Stephenville, she said it stands to reason the president should live where the college headquarters is located.

She said Radford had told the Stephenville town council that he travels a lot, including vists to all 17 campuses of the college, however, she said the number of campuses remains the same as it always did.

“What’s changed?” Aylward asked.

Radford would not do an interview and his staff deferred comment to those who hired him, the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour.

Despite repeated requests for an interview with minister, Al Hawkins, a department official said he wasn’t available. In an email, the department provided information stating where any employee of the College of the North Atlantic or any other organization chooses to live is a personal choice.

It said the “position” of college president remains and will remain in Stephenville, where the college headquarters is located. The email also said Radford did not raise it as an issue at the time he was appointed and he has not raised it since then. The statement also said the position of president requires extensive travel throughout the province, including St. John’s.

“Government is firmly committed to the college headquarters remaining in Stephenville,” read the email. “This has not changed.”

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