A regular meeting of the Senate, held on October 19, 2001.
Centraide: Danielle Morin, an associate dean of the John Molson School
of Business and co-chair of Concordias Centraide campaign, addressed
Senate on the importance of donating to organizations that help the needy
of the Montreal area. Mark Branch, Concordia alumnus and executive director
of the Boys and Girls Club of LaSalle, spoke briefly about how Centraide
supports its work.
Concordia Student Union senator Benoît Desgreniers asked if the
Jewish organization Bnai Brith receives help from Centraide, and
Morin gave him the booklet of members. [It doesnt.] At another point
in the Senate meeting, the same student asked why the Rector had not denounced
Bnai Brith for linking the CSU with terrorism. The Rector replied
that he had made several widely disseminated statements disassociating
himself from such remarks.
Rectors remarks: New statistics show that among Quebec universities,
Concordia has the biggest increase in enrolment, 7.2 per cent in overall
registration, and 10.8 per cent of new undergraduates this year. The construction
of new campus buildings is on budget and on schedule. He expects the anticipated
Quebec budget to honour the governments commitment to increased
funding; CREPUQ has been lobbying to ensure this.
The provinces have asked the Canadian government to contribute 40 per
cent to the indirect, i.e., overhead, costs of university research, meeting
the U.S. standard. (Currently, Quebec contributes 15 per cent; in some
provinces, universities do not benefit at all.)
Student affairs: The CSUs Patrice Blais announced that former
vice-president Sheryll Navidad has been charged with fraud. He urged members
of Senate to write to the authorities to urge that justice be done. Sabrina
Stea read a letter of resignation as president of the CSU (See
Blais said that members of CSU Council had had lawyers letters delivered
to their addresses, and these addresses, which the CSU felt should be
confidential, appeared to have come from university files. University
Legal Counsel Bram Freedman said he had just heard about it, and would
look into the matter.
Student André Munro also said that a Communication Studies professor
has borrowed all copies of his own book from the Concordia library, apparently
in an effort to force his students to buy it; Provost and Vice-Rector
Research Jack Lightstone said he would look into it.
Academic planning: Lightstone said that SCAPP, the Senate committee
on academic planning and priorities, will invite formal reports from the
Faculties on their planning mandate, i.e. hiring and retention of faculty,
increased research, information technology and the retention of students,
and will discuss the university budgets for last year and this. He added
that the university writing test must be re-evaluated, as large numbers
of students are leaving this requirement for final graduation until the
last moment, and some have to write it many times before passing. It is
intended to be an aid to students, he said, but is proving otherwise.
Access to information technology throughout the university has progressed
Re-appointment: Lightstone announced that Professor Balbir Sahni has
been re-appointed to a second five-year term as director of the Centre
for International Academic Cooperation.
Senate procedure: Questions were asked about the presence of a
student photographer, who said she was taking pictures for her own purposes.
Several students said that the senators are public figures in the sense
that they represent others at Senate. However, several faculty members
objected to being photographed.
Curriculum: A student senator suspected that courses were being
cut, narrowing choice for students; Lightstone explained that quantity
was no substitute for quality in this matter, and that curriculum is constantly
being enriched and overhauled. Student senator Patrice Blais objected
at some length to what they felt was a lack of specific information about
several changes in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. Dean
Nabil Esmail, Lightstone and others said that engineering students had
been involved at every stage in the development of these changes, many
of which were of a minor nature, and as business dean Jerry Tomberlin
said, they concerned that Faculty only. An effort by the students to delay
passage of several of the changes failed, and all were passed. More discussion
revolved around the criteria for academic awards. Once again, it was explained
to the student senators that Faculty-specific and university-wide awards
may have different criteria.
Writing at external sites: The universitys policy on this
matter was expanded without discussion.
Next meeting: November 9