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September 13, 2001 Senate Notes





A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held on November 8, 2002.

Composition of Senate: Rector Frederick Lowy said that the Senate steering committee had considered the motion put forward at the October meeting by GSA president Rocci Luppicini to increase student representation on Senate; part-time faculty members David Vivian and Pierre Ouellet also requested increased representation of their constitutency. As a result, a working group had been established to gather information on the question, including practices at other universities. It comprises William Curran (Director, Libraries), Nancy Marrelli (Director, Archives), and Cameron Tilson (Rector’s Cabinet). The last time Senate’s composition was changed was in the mid-1980s, when its size was reduced for added efficiency, and in the mid-’90s, when an independent speaker replaced the rector as speaker.

Sept. 9: Dr. Lowy said that several students had been identified and charged under the university’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities. Another group, some of them students, had been charged by the police. The Board of Governors had established a committee to review and recommend changes to the Code, under the chairmanship of Me Pierre Frégeau; for the time being, the emergency measures granted to the rector would stand. A report was also being prepared that he said “would respond to all the questions people will ask” about the events surrounding Sept. 9 at the the university. “The challenge is how to take positive, creative advantage of our diverse community, a kind of laboratory in human relations. We in the administration are putting our minds to this problem. We welcome initiatives from students, and from anyone.”

Adam Slater (CSU) reminded Senate that it had recommended to the Board that the emergency powers be lifted. Did the rector think so highly of himself that he would recommend otherwise?

Dr. Lowy replied, “I did recommend to the Board that those powers not be used,” and he assured Slater that they would not be used lightly. Youri Courmier (CSU) called it “a silly argument” to say that he didn’t want to use the powers but at the same time to condone them. He asked what would be the consequences of putting himself against Senate, and would he resign. Dr. Lowy replied that he had not considered it.

Maiko Ishii (CSU) said that “the administration should take some responsibility for the violence” of Sept. 9. If President George Bush went to a university in Afghanistan, or Prime Minister Tony Blair to a university in Iraq, wouldn’t violence have been expected?

To this, Dr. Lowy replied that Concordia was not Afghanistan or Iraq, and violence was not anticipated at a controversial speech. Ellen Jacob (Arts & Science) said, “We have heard over and over that other people are responsible for [students’] behaviour. This is a strange way of thinking.”

Dean Martin Singer (Arts & Science) objected to what he called “posturing and theatrical statements,” and to the length of question period, which had nearly doubled to 25 minutes.

The acting speaker, Vice-Rector Marcel Danis, said that the subject was a serious one to many present. Remaining discussion included a question as to whether the university supplied videotape from its stationary security cameras to the police, which was confirmed. Ishii asked if Singer and others had deliberately left the Oct. 4 Senate meeting at 5 p.m. to deprive it of quorum and stall the passage of student senators’ motions, to which Singer replied that he had had a 5 o’clock appointment four miles away. Singer was also asked if he knew of a risk assessment plan prepared in advance of Netanyahu’s visit.

He said that he hadn’t, and was only involved in the planned visit in early August, when he was filling in for another administrator.

A motion was tabled for senators’ information. It read: “That the Faculty of Fine Arts Faculty Council believes in the University as a site for open discussion and acceptance of diversity. In the light of these values, we deplore the violent and racist acts exhibited by some of the protestors at the Hall Building on Sept. 9, 2002.”

The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

The meeting scheduled for Nov. 29 has been cancelled.