A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held on January
Rectors remarks: Dr. Lowy told Senate that he is planning to
make a three-stage presentation to the Board of Governors at successive
Board meetings Jan. 23, Feb. 13 and March 20 about the need to start constructing
the new buildings on the downtown campus as soon as possible. The science
complex under construction at Loyola is on time and on budget ($85 million).
The downtown buildings are targeted at $300 million, of which it is expected
that one-third will come from donations and one-third from government.
Although it will be a challenge, Dr. Lowy said, he hopes that the Board
will support a loan of $100 million so that ground can be broken as soon
as permission is granted.
Graduate Studies and Research: Dean Claude Bédard announced
that the Office of Research Services has a new director, Benoit Morin
(See CTR, Jan. 10, page 4). The frais indirects (from research
grants, to cover overhead costs incurred by the university) are being
distributed. A Concordia researcher, Marie-France Wagner (Etudes françaises)
has been awarded a major SSHRC grant for her project, Le spectacle
du pouvoir: les entrées solonnelles des rois dans les villes françaises
au XVIième siecle.
Co-op Institute: Provost Jack Lightstone announced that the Institute
for Co-operative Education has a new director, Christine Webb, who directed
co-operative education at Memorial University of Newfoundland for 10 years.
Welcome to Concordia, Christine.
Textbooks: Patrice Blais (Concordia Student Union) remarked that
according to a letter to The Concordian, a textbook that costs
$98.95 at the Concordia Bookstore can be bought from chapters.com for
only $80. Vice-Rector Services Michael Di Grappa replied that Manager
Lina Lipscombe has assured him that Concordias bookstores charge
the lowest profit margin of any university bookstore in Canada. The price
differential has to do with economies of scale.
Graduate students on Senate: A motion was introduced by Rocci
Luppicini, president of the Graduate Students Association, that would
increase graduate students representation on Senate from two seats
to three. He explained that currently, the two are from one Faculty, leaving
other three Faculties unrepresented. The graduate students in business
and engineering do not pay fees to the GSA, and having three seats instead
of two might encourage them to participate.
Lightstone said that this was putting the cart before the horse, and suggested
that the GSA get its house in order. Robert Oppenheimer (Centre for Mature
Students) and Cristelle Basmaji (CASA, business students) suggested that
the motion be amended to ensure maximum representation across Faculties.
Dean Jerry Tomberlin said that it has been difficult to persuade graduate
students to fill available seats on JMSB Faculty Council. Dean of Students
Donald Boisvert said that whether all graduate students pay fees to the
GSA or not, the university recognizes the GSA as speaking for them.
Students senators argued for more student representation on Senate as
a matter of principle. (Senate has 37 voting members, of whom 10 are undergraduates
and two graduate students. The rest are faculty or administrators.)
Benoit Desgreniers (CSU) argued for more rights for independent students
(who take three or fewer courses and are not in a program) and students
like himself who cant always pay their fees on time. The motion
was narrowly defeated, nine for and 10 against.
Special Graduation Awards: Changes, mainly of a housekeeping nature,
were proposed to this group of community awards, so called
because they take into account non-academic achievements. The substantive
changes included setting an expected minimum grade-point average of 3.0
for graduating candidates. Sami Nazzal (CSU) suggested that this might
put engineering students at a disadvantage since they tend to have lower
GPAs because their courses are harder.
Other student senators argued that the GPA criterion puts deserving students
with lower marks at a disadvantage.
Lightstone said that since they are presented at spring convocation, an
academic event, they should meet academic standards. Boisvert added that
extra-curricular and academic achievement often go hand-in-hand. Bédard
pointed out that in the case of the Stanley G. French Award, given to
graduate students, a criterion of 3.0 is irrelevant because graduate students
have to maintain a 3.0 GPA in any case, and another criterion, that 60
credits must be from Concordia, is also inapplicable to graduate students.
The motion was amended to read that a 3.0 GPA is usually expected
in candidates, and it was understood that the French Award has its own
criteria. Carried, though not unanimously.
The meeting scheduled for February 1 has been cancelled.