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October 24, 2002 Senate Notes



A regular meeting of University Senate held Jan. 17, 2003.

Rector’s remarks

Rector Frederick Lowy said he had deposited an internal report on Sept. 9 and an action plan with the Board of Governors on Jan. 15. He also drew Senate’s attention to a poster mounted around campus by the group Solidarity for Human Rights. It called for a demonstration at noon on Monday, Jan. 20, in the Hall Building in support of students charged in the Sept. 9 disturbance, whose hearing under the Code of Rights and Responsibilities was scheduled to start that day. He said he was concerned about the wording of the poster, and quoted from it. Student senator Ralph Lee said that the demonstration would be a peaceful expression of solidarity.

Emergency motions

Two motions were brought to Senate without having gone through the normal process of Senate steering committee, and their acceptance on the agenda was put to a vote. The first, presented by Dr. Lowy, was to increase the number of chairs available to preside over student tribunals from six to 10; this was added to the agenda, and passed. The second motion, presented by student senator Youri Cormier, was to censure Concordia’s Thursday Report for publishing excerpts in its Jan. 16 issue from a letter-writing campaign in support of the student group Hillel, on the grounds of unacceptable language. This resolution was at first rejected as an agenda item, but it was introduced at the end of the meeting. The question was put, there was no discussion, and the resolution did not pass.

Funding formula

Provost Jack Lightstone, chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Priorities (SCAPP), said that a year ago, the government served notice that it was changing the funding formula to universities. As this would have cost Concordia some $4.7 million, the administration lobbied hard against it. The government agreed to postpone the measure. Now a new funding formula, not necessarily that proposed last year, is likely to be introduced, which will again result in a significant loss to Concordia, though it will not exceed $4.7 million, and may well be less. Funding under the current formula will be frozen on the basis of the FTE (full-time enrolment equivalent) for 2002-03; the university will be given a “virtual allocation” according to the new funding formula, and the frozen allocation will prevail until the gap between old and new method is closed, i.e. until increased enrolment and indexation account for the deficit in the allocation. The government has agreed to conduct bilateral discussions to look at Concordia’s unique needs, like our bi-campus operation, but Lightstone said that if the budget is frozen, it will be difficult to hire more faculty, and the intake of students might have to be reduced.

Composition of the Board

A student senator asked the Rector where he stood on affirmative action, and criticized ethnic representation among the senior administration and on the Board of Governors. Dr. Lowy replied that the senior administrators are chosen through a careful process for who they are, not their ethnic origin, and regarding the Board, he has asked Muslim students to recommend appropriate members of the Muslim community for nomination, but so far has received no suggestions.

Next meeting: March 14.