In the last issue of the Carillon, Sports Editor John Loeppky reported on the upcoming arbitration involving the University of Regina and Ronald Lavoie, a former day-to-day employee of the University. Lavoie told the Carillon that he had been essentially pushed out of his job after suffering from a bleed in his brain due to complications with a previous operation in 2014. Since then, Lavoie has been treated with utter contempt by the University, and those in charge.
Being the Editor-In-Chief here at the Carillon, I’ve come to realize just how important it is to have certain people on our staff, and how much you appreciate not only their ability to do their job at a high level, but their input and wisdom that shows every time you are around them. So it is absolutely mind-boggling just how horrible the University has treated a well-respected, senior member of their caretaking staff. The way they’ve treated Lavoie is akin to how a professional sports franchise (specifically football) treats their players after they’ve just past their peak. “Thanks for all the time and effort that you’ve put into your time here, but you’re slightly too old and we’d rather not pay you. Bye!” You would think that after all these years (Lavoie has worked at the U of R since 1985), the University would try to treat a valuable and incredibly loyal employee with a little more respect and dignity.
What is especially hard for me to understand in this situation is why the U of R would even treat Lavoie like this at all. When you have someone that is as experienced and knowledgeable about the workings of the University from thirty years of employment, I would fully expect that you would do everything to keep him around, even if you transitioned him somewhere else where you could make the best use of his skills. However, the U of R has not just avoided putting him in a position to succeed, they have attempted to set him up for failure. Lavoie noted that he was told to stay away from areas that had a lot of stairs, or from using ladders. So where does the University put him? In the older part of campus, where there are no elevators. So not only is the University shirking its responsibilities to accommodate him, they are actually making things as hard as possible on him. Caretakers have it hard enough at our University right now with all the structural damage, so it is incredibly appalling that Lavoie has to be put through extra hardship in order to just do his job.
I cannot state enough how important it is to value loyal, long-time employees. Lavoie has given decades of his life in service to our University, and he’s currently being forced out, despite his best intentions and his loyalty over the years. I would expect this kind of treatment out of the world of professional sports, not from a University regarding its custodial services. In the coming weeks I’m fully expecting to hear the classic Vince McMahon-esque line of, “We wish you the best in your future endeavors,” when that clearly doesn’t seem to be the case for the University of Regina in regards to Ronald.