A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held May 25, 2001
Budget, 2000-01: During question period, Harvey Shulman (Arts and
Science) asked whether it had been wise for the senior administration
to balance Concordias budget, since other Quebec universities seem
to have increased their deficits without penalty.
Rector Frederick Lowy said that it was the right decision, both in principle
and in practical terms. It enhanced Concordias reputation for efficiency,
fulfilled our contract with the government, and saved large sums in debt
charges. Running a deficit would not have attracted more government money,
and would probably have discouraged some of the large grants and private
donations that have been received.
Chief Financial Officer Larry English substantiated this argument when
he presented a financial statement for the academic year now ending. The
universitys long-term debt has been whittled down from $36M in the
early 1990s to $8M, saving millions of dollars in interest payments.
He talked about the apparent arbitrariness of Quebec government funding,
not only the difficulty of achieving a final accounting of operating funds
even after the year in question is over, but in the allocation of monies
as a result of performance contracts signed this year with the Ministry
Of this $95M, Concordia received only $1.5M. English produced some research
into the money received by other universities through their performance
contracts, and the somewhat obscure titles given to these allocations,
which appear to bear no relation to each universitys debt, or, indeed,
to any formula. There is no rational, discernible basis for these
sums, he said.
Regarding long-term debt, English said, the universities vary widely in
their approach. HECs debt is almost negligible; Bishops was
nearly $1M but has been reduced by two-thirds in the past year. Université
Lavals debt has increased from $81M to $89M, and the debt of the
Université du Québec network has doubled in a single year
to more than $72M. McGills debt has increased somewhat, from $16.5M
to $19.5M, and the Université de Montréals has decreased
from $56M to $45M.
While bemused by the governments approach and disappointed by the
amount of money that Concordia received, English said that an increase
in rental revenues will virtually wipe out the anticipated deficit for
2000-01 of $1.1M. Were in fine financial shape, he concluded.
Miscellany: Malcolm Coker, of the Graduate Students Association, said
that in a referendum, graduate students overwhelmingly approved an increase
in their student fees. Dean Martin Singer (Arts and Science) said that
since the Facultys privatized fees for international students are
tied to government funding, these are likely to rise. Elizabeth Saccá
(Graduate Studies) said that this springs convocation includes four
of the special individualized program students from South Africa; more
are expected to graduate next year. Patrice Blais (CSU) suggested a debate
in future on the role of the School of Graduate Studies, in the light
of the search for dean now going on.
Academic policies: University Counsel Bram Freedman presented revisions
to the code of Conduct (Academic), revisions to the Academic Re-Evaluation
Procedures, a policy on the establishment of tribunal hearing pools, and
(for information only, as it is under the Boards jurisdiction) revisions
to the Code of Rights and Responsibilities. These procedural changes were
developed over the past year by a task force to make the policies clearer
and more effective, and were recommended to Senate by the Academic Programs
The senators representing the Concordia Students Union succeeded in having
the make-up of the tribunal hearing pools discussed first, and proposed
a series of amendments, one of which would eliminate the task forces
restriction on eligibility to students in good academic standing.
At this point, citing the lateness of the hour, the absence of the Provost,
and lack of clarity behind the intent of the amendments, Dean Singer proposed
that the matter be sent back to the APC, and this was approved, on the
understanding that the APC would consider it in time for it to be proposed
at the first Senate meeting in September.
Post-doctoral fellows: A policy proposed by Elizabeth Saccá
(Graduate Studies) was approved without discussion.
This was the last Senate meeting of the academic year.