A University of Victoria student found dead in his home this week handled his termination from the Health Ministry as part of an ongoing investigation “with dignity,” said his university director.
Harold Roderick MacIsaac, 46, was found dead by police in his Saanich residence about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Detectives found no apparent foul play nor enough evidence to confirm a suicide. The case has been turned over to the B.C. Coroners Service for further investigation.
“This is a tragic loss for those who knew him and the entire university community,” wrote Evert Lindquist, director of UVic’s school of public administration, in a letter to PhD students, staff and colleagues.
“At this time our thoughts are foremost with Roderick’s family.”
The doctoral student was a “number cruncher” skilled in quantitative analysis and working with data, Lindquist said.
“He was a quiet and methodical student with a wry sense of humour and knowledgable about a wide variety of topics.”
His loss is deeply felt, especially amongst the school’s closely knit group of doctoral students, staff and faculty, many of whom have been sharing memories of MacIsaac throughout the week, Lindquist said.
“You become a bit like family like any workplace,” Lindquist said in an interview. “There really is a sense of loss.”
MacIsaac was one of seven Health Ministry employees fired in relation to an internal investigation into privacy breach allegations.
He had just days left in his co-op work term when he was fired in late August.
“He handled that with dignity,” Lindquist said.
Two former employees have filed civil suits against the Health Ministry for wrongful dismissal and defamation, allegations the province has denied in its response to the claims.
Three of the former employees — including MacIsaac — were B.C. Government Employee Union members. They filed grievances to be heard in May.
In his letter, Lindquist reminded students that counselling services are available by calling 250-721-8341 during business hours or visiting Room B270 in the University Centre.
Counselling services are also available for staff through the university’s employee and family assistance plan.
“I know this will be difficult for the members of our school community,” Lindquist said.
“It stops everythig and forces reflection and it can affect us in different ways.”
MacIsaac’s family has requested privacy and has not publicly released details of a funeral or commemorative gathering.
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