Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.12

March 18, 2004


Of Note



Kudos for BioBuses

I just heard about Concordia’s new shuttle buses (CTR, March 4, page 1). Congratulations! And kudos to whoever's in charge for having opted to run them on biodiesel.

I, for one, recently bought a Jetta TDI with the hope that biodiesel would become commercially available. The sad fact is that it is completely unavailable to the general public in Canada and there’s little sign that it’s coming any time soon!

I did manage to fill up on biodiesel ONCE, in Kennebunk, Maine. The result: cleaner emissions, a much more pleasantly smelling exhaust, a quieter engine (due to biodiesel’s higher lubricity level) and a few more km to the tank to boot!

I contacted Mike Russo [Concordia, Facilities Management], who pointed me in the direction of Rothsay/Laurenco, the only supplier in Quebec. I contacted them and spoke to Claude Bourgot, who is the resource person in charge of biodiesel sales to Concordia and was also involved in the 12-month STM biodiesel pilot project.

From what he told me, it costs about 15 or 16 cents more per litre, which to me is not a big deal. However, most consumers are believed to be unwilling to make that financial effort, so Rothsay/Laurenco is lobbying the federal government to drop the excise tax that is responsible for the higher price.

Now that Kyoto has been ratified by Canada, let's just hope that Mr. Martin or his replacement will make the right (and seemingly obvious) decisions! Boost the tax on polluting fuels to compensate for a lowering of taxes on environment-friendly choices; the same can apply to cars, appliances, building materials... the list goes on and on.

Just imagine the headlines in all of Canada’s papers: “Concordia University Leads Public Biodiesel Initiative” Just makes you drool, doesn’t it?

David Shotlander

Major SSHRC consultation underway

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada is conducting a nation-wide consultation with scholars and others on how to transform itself from a granting agency to a body that also manages knowledge.

Concordia is organizing its own internal consultation as part of this process, under the direction of Truong Vo-Van, Vice-Provost, Research, and Concordia SSHRC representative Professor Vered Amit.

Two documents are available online detailing SSHRC’s proposals; they will also be distributed in hard copy. A questionnaire will be distributed to faculty members and graduate students regarding elements of the proposal. An open meeting will be held March 25, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., in Room GM-302. A second consultation meeting is being co-sponsored by Concordia and McGill Universities on March 31 in Room 232 of McGill’s Leacock Building, from 1-3 p.m. It will provide an opportunity for an exchange with Marc Renaud, the president of SSHRC.

“The proposals to restructure SSHRC will have significant implications for all social science and humanities research in Canada,” Vo-Van said. “We want to make sure that Concordia’s report to SSHRC accurately reflects the views of our faculty members and graduate students.”

Professor Amit said that some change in SSHRC’s activities has already taken place. The agency is aware that politicians and the general public need to be made aware of the growth in social sciences and humanities research, and its need for funding and new directions. While this request comes at a busy time for faculty and the time frame is a narrow one, she said, it is essential for Concordia scholars to make their views known.

Professor Amit can be contacted at Vice-Provost Vo-Van can be reached at

Evaluation of vice-rector

The evaluation committee for the position of Vice-Rector, Services, has been established by the Board of Governors. It requires a member representing the administrative and support staff, preferably reporting to this vice-rector.

The incumbent, Michael Di Grappa, is seeking a second five-year term of office.

The deadline for nominations to the committee is tomorrow, March 19, at 5 p.m. Nominations should be made to Gilles Bourgeois, Executive Director, Human Resources and Employee Relations, S-ER 503-3, or by fax to 2844.

Deputy Speaker of Senate

Senate is calling for nominations for a Deputy Speaker of Senate. The current Speaker, Dr. John O’Brien, is not stepping down, but Senate Steering Committee is looking to ensure a smooth transition.

This is an elected position, unpaid, for a one-year renewable term. The vote is expected to take place at the March 19 meeting. Students, faculty and staff, are eligible to nominate anyone who is serving or has served on Senate.

For nomination details and a list of current Senate members, please go to call for nominations.

Spring 2004 Convocation Medals and Awards

Graduating students (Fall 03 and Spring 04) may be nominated for the Concordia Medal, Malone Medal, O’Brien Medal, Lieutenant-Governor’s Award, Stanley G. French Medal

The First Graduating Class Award is for contributions, academic or extracurricular, to university life.

Forms and criteria are available from the Dean of Students Offices (SGW and LOY) and the Birks Student Service Centre (SGW).

Deadline: March 31, to the Office of the Registrar, SGW-LB-700, attention H. Albert.

Alumni Association Recognition Awards

Alumni of the Year - Benoit Pelland Distinguished Service Award

Honorary Life Membership (non-graduate) - Outstanding Student Award

Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching - MBA Alumni of the Year Award

Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award

Deadline: April 12. For more information, please call (514) 848-2424 ext. 3882 or consult http:

Memorial service

Nancy Raymond

A memorial service for Nancy Raymond will be held on Monday, March 22, at 2 p.m. in the Loyola Chapel. There will be a reception following the service.

A former employee in Counselling and Development (1980 to 1985) and Political Science (1988 to 1996), she died of cancer in New York on Dec. 21, 2003.

The organizers have asked friends to bring stories about Nancy to the service. Donations to defray the cost of the event are welcome.