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October 24, 2002 Senate notes




A regular meeting of University Senate held May 9, 2003

Procedure: Student senator Youri Cormier proposed an amendment to the agenda. In an attempt at irony, he called it “Fun With Racism.” When it appeared that most of senate, including supporters of the motion, were hostile to the name, he changed it to “Issues of Racism.” (It concerns the CSU’s effort to hold a hearing into institutional racism.) Provost Jack Lightstone said that subjects that are likely to result in motions are customarily approved in advance by senate steering committee. The amendment was defeated.

Later in the meeting, Cormier asked the provost if he was being truthful when he told the board that senate meetings scheduled for February and March had been cancelled for lack of material for discussion; could it have been to avoid discussing student (i.e. CSU) issues? Lightstone replied that the decision to cancel the meetings was taken by the steering committee.

Tribunal chairs: Rector Frederick Lowy proposed a motion adding a candidate to the pool of potential chairs of these hearings. In this case, the candidate had taught a course for Concordia’s non-credit arm, Continuing Education. After discussion of possible conflict of interest, Dr. Lowy withdrew the motion for further study.

Rector’s remarks: Dr. Lowy noted the change of government, and the fact that Pierre Reid, a former rector of the Université de Sherbrooke and head of CREPUQ, is now education minister. Reid has said he supports university autonomy, and will maintain the tuition freeze. At Concordia, the rector noted the Peace and Conflict project (see CTR, April 10) and efforts to establish a centre for conflict resolution at the university.

Academic planning: The provost said that another objective has been added to the ongoing planning exercise, that of increasing the proportion of graduates to undergraduates.

News: Adam Slater reported that the court case by the Jewish student group Hillel against the Concordia Student Union had been rejected on the grounds that the university’s own resources to solve this quarrel had not been exhausted. Several faculty members reported activities and accomplishments, all of which are to be found in the pages of CTR.

Sanctions for Sept. 9: Slater and Cormier raised the case of Chadi Serhal, who was charged with harassment and threatening or violent conduct on Sept. 9, 2002, and was handed a five-year ban from Concordia premises. They claimed that at the time, he was a student about to graduate and was taking continuing education classes. The rector said that in fact, he had finished his program before Sept. 9, so was no longer a student; moreover, he had not applied for the non-credit course until November. However, because of the appearance of possible unfairness, the matter had been sent to an outside law firm for advice, which Vice-Rector Marcel Danis said would be rendered this week.

Reporting: Cormier asked the rector for an explanation of remarks reported in the Canadian Jewish News that he allegedly made at a Canadian Legion meeting, and gave three examples from the article.

Dr. Lowy explained what he had actually said and meant. Another student asked what could be done to correct the impression left by the article, and Lowy said that it was his feeling after many years’ experience in public life that newspapers rarely correct such things, and in any case, it is not helpful to draw further attention to them. He added that a documentary was going to be shown on Global TV that very night (May 9), and he was not looking forward to it, because it was likely to contain inaccuracies.

Student union accreditation: The Quebec government is reviewing its policy, and in answer to a student senator’s questions, Concordia has submitted a brief. It is available from the rector’s office.

Next meeting: May 23.