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November 22, 2001 Senate Notes





A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held on November 9, 2001

Funding: See Quebec funding formula concerns Board

Library: Questions were asked at the last meeting about a professor who borrowed all copies of his own book from the library, and an employee who was subsequently disciplined for making this public. Lightstone explained that the borrowing habits of patrons of the library are confidential. However, it would be permissible for an employee to tell a reporter that he/she had informed his/her supervisor about such an incident, without mentioning names.

Police procedure: Student senator Benoît Desgreniers asked University Counsel Bram Freedman about the potential for police investigations on campus, particularly in light of the new anti-terrorist legislation, which could be applied to student activists. Freedman replied that investigations by the police are very rare, and the university is kept informed; however, the police do not need a warrant to do so.

He promised to look into the university’s policy of notifying those under police investigation. He has read the new anti-terrorist legislation, and has found nothing likely to cause problems at the university.

Tribunal hearing pools: Four lawyers’ names and qualifications were presented for approval as chairs of these bodies, which hear cases of misconduct at the university. The student senators argued against one candidate, accusing him of incompetence and lack of openness. Freedman noted that the candidate had been part of a previous hearing at which he had presented arguments the same students had not agreed with. He was rejected; the other three were approved.

Capital budget: Vice Rector Services Michael Di Grappa presented the capital budget for 2001-02. The capital allocation is $5.384 million, or $784,000 more than had been expected. It will cover unforeseen expenses relating to classroom construction and repairs to the VA annex foundation last year.

Operating budget: Chief Financial Officer Larry English presented the final results for 2000-01, and traced their development. In December 2000, a deficit of $17,000 was forecast. In April, the needs of Physical Resources, IITS and Human Resources, plus new information regarding the operating grant, pushed that deficit to $1.116 million. In June, the revised operating grant included new funding of nearly $1 million for rentals and $518,000 in adjustments for out-of-province and international students, at which point there was a projected surplus of $251,000. In fact, the actual surplus was $255,462.

The final tally for 2000-01, which includes $3,848,000 additional FTE monies which the university was allowed to accrue, and $539,000 from the government for energy needs, brings the surplus for that academic year to $4.642 million. English noted that the $3.848 million for additional full-time equivalent students was in fact only 70 per cent of what we claimed, but the government was unable to pay the full amount.

Regarding overruns in expenses, English noted several cases. These included the Rector’s Office, where travel for fundraising and recruitment and a substantial theft of computers ran up a deficit of $176,000. The provost’s office was $250,000 over budget. In Engineering and Computer Science, an initial outlay for a new off-campus program appeared as part of “tuition collected.” Fine Arts has corrected “structural problems” in its financial management and is making up a previous shortfall.

There was a shortfall in the John Molson School of Business of about $900,000. Dean Jerry Tomberlin attributed this to expenses incurred in the Faculty’s name-change, and the development of the global aviation MBA program, which is given almost entirely online. He said that these were one-time-only expenses.

Dean Martin Singer said that if his Faculty of Arts and Science ran up a deficit similarly proportional to its budget, it would have been $5 million. Quoting Tomberlin’s description of the name-change as a “collective decision,” he said that the decision did not include him.

Clarence Bayne, a senator from the School, said that the Faculty of Commerce was told to raise money, and took these steps to do so. Lightstone said that a few years ago, a decision was made to give the Faculties a lot of autonomy in the interests of sound academic development, “but no one approved an over-expenditure in that Faculty.” Tomberlin said that the School was working out a repayment plan with the university, and the School would go on to realize revenue from these investments.

Student election: Cristelle Basmaji, president of CASA, the business students’ association, presented a motion asking professors to consider releasing students from the classroom 15 minutes early over Nov. 27 to 29 to encourage them to vote. Student senators from the Concordia Student Union tried to replace this with a more elaborate motion; their contention that it was in the same spirit as the original was denied by the Speaker, John O’Brien. It was reduced to a single amendment, namely, that the chief electoral officer of the CSU send a letter to the deans outlining the polling times and other information, but this was defeated. The original motion was passed.

Next meeting: November 30