Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.7

December 4, 2003


Senate Notes

A regular meeting, held Nov. 28, 2003.

Emergency aid: Chaplain Daryl Lynn Ross made a brief presentation on the Student Emergency Food Fund, which is particularly active at this time.

Deputy Speaker: This new post was proposed by Rector Frederick Lowy as a means of support and succession for the Speaker of Senate. Rector Emeritus John O’Brien has been Speaker since that post was created in 1996. Approved unanimously.

Operating budget: Final results for 2002-03 and the preliminary budget for the current year were presented by CFO Larry English. The university booked an operating grant of $170 million. Funding per student is slightly less than it was a decade ago. The university now has nearly 23,000 FTEs (full-time-equivalent students), compared to 16,600 in 1996. The operating grant for 2003-04 is only 96.5 per cent of what was expected, leaving a shortfall for Concordia of $5.8 million in terms of the expected grant per FTE. Indeed, he calculates that the Ministry of Education should increase operating grants by 4 to 5 per cent to ensure stability, but will provide an increase of only 1.75 per cent.

Eight million dollars is being allocated for renovations in 2002-03. The new science building will cost nearly $3 million a year to maintain, starting in 2003-04. English has earmarked $8 million for salary increases in 2003-04; the government anticipates an overall 1.67-per-cent increase in salaries at universities.

The Concordia University Foundation lost about 4 per cent owing to a downturn in the market. Add to that the 5 per cent it disperses in support to students, and this amounts to a 9-per-cent shortfall, which will be made up from operating funds in 2002-03 to keep the Foundation’s capital intact.

English displayed a graph that showed Concordia’s accumulated surplus. The Université de Sherbrooke and McGill are breaking even, and others have substantial deficits (U de M $40 million, the U du Québec network $80 million, and Laval $100 million). The Rector said that if Concordia proceeded with its hiring and other plans, the university would realize a deficit of $10 million.

New senior post: The Rector announced the creation of Vice-Rector, Advancement and Alumni. This is a post for a professional fundraiser designed to raise funds from private and corporate sources more aggressively than in the past. Several senators supported the initiative but expressed the hope that faculty would be part of the search process. The Rector said that the open search process might deter the best professional candidates from applying; however, the work of such a development executive would be driven by the academic mission of the university. See article.

Next meeting, Jan. 16, 2004.