A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held on September
Commemoration: At the suggestion of student senator Sami Nazzal,
there was a moment of silence in memory of those killed in the terrorist
attack on New York on Sept. 11.
Rector Frederick Lowy gave the address he had delivered at a memorial
service earlier in the day, and emphasized the need for mutual tolerance
at the university.
Growth: The rector reported a rise in enrolment almost to
the bursting point, and an influx of almost 70 new professors; 150
in the past two years. Construction of the new buildings is on schedule,
and he paid tribute to the Departments of Communications Studies and Journalism
for their relocation efforts over the summer. Downtown construction awaits
IT upgrade: Provost/Vice-Rector Research Jack Lightstone reported
that the effort to equip owned classrooms of 50-plus capacity by January
has gone so well that it is ahead of schedule, and smaller and suitable
rented classrooms will be included. He asked for patience from those clamoring
to use them right away.
Student union: The rector reported that a meeting between legal
representatives of the Concordia Student Union and the university earlier
in the day, at which the administration offered to set up a three-person
fact-finding group, did not result in a settlement. Senator and CSU president
Sabrina Stea said this was because the CSU wants the two banned activists
to be allowed to register as students for this term. (CTR, Sept. 13,
Student senator Mistie Mullarkey objected to a phrase in the report by
the Advisor on Rights and Responsibilities (see CTR Sept. 13) in
which the Advisor refers to a student hearing board tribunal last term
at which the respondents mounted a purely political defense.
The rector replied that he couldnt speak for Sally Spilhaus, who
wrote the report, but she was probably referring to their disruption of
proceedings, and that if the tribunal had been a court of law, the respondents
supporters would have been thrown out.
The rector also reported that career fairs organized by the Commerce Placement
Centre and the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association had
been marred by withdrawals on the part of companies due to insults in
CSU publications. Business Dean Jerry Tomberlin added that in the wake
of the U.S. disaster, they also had fears for their safety.
Student senator Patrice Blais asked for a definition of a student; the
rector said there are five definitions at the moment, depending on the
context, and the only written one is in the academic code of conduct.
A student senator took the rector to task for telling a reporter that
students should not bring international quarrels to the university, to
which Lowy replied that there is a difference between what is said and
what is reported, and in any case, the university must preserve an atmosphere
conducive to learning.
Nazzal said that students who choose political involvement are getting
a different way of education that is as valid as conventional
classes. He added that since the attack on the U.S., some Arab and Muslim
students have been singled out for hostility: Some professors have
made unbelievable comments.
Academic policies: The APC (academic programs committee) presented
a set of recommended changes to the establishment of tribunal hearing
pools, revisions to the academic code of conduct, and academic re-evaluation
In each case, amendments were proposed by Blais that were aimed at increasing
student participation in the process, although, as the APC chair (Lightstone)
noted, similar amendments had already been discussed and defeated in committee.
There was much discussion of these amendments, but ultimately, all were
Two examples: One amendment would have called for the inclusion on
tribunals of independent students, who have been exempted from normal
admission procedures and take only two or at most three courses; this
was rejected on the grounds that they are not sufficiently committed and
integrated into student life to decide on serious cases of cheating. Another
would have given students parity with faculty on an academic hearing panel;
this was rejected on the grounds that the chair would have to cast the
deciding vote in a tie, and this would change how he or she approached
Reflecting on the amendments and the way the voting split, senator Arshad
Ahmad (Business) reflected that there seemed to be an us-and-them mentality.
You should trust people to do an [academic] evaluation properly.
We should be building bridges here. All three documents were passed
as presented by the APC.
Shuffle: Lightstone issued his annual challenge to donate $1 for every
faculty member who made a pledge, over and above his own pledge to the
Sept. 21 walkathon for scholarships.
Next meeting: October 5