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BoG discusses service contracts, student strike

Meeting continued despite CSU disruption

by Laurie Zack

At its November 17 dinner meeting at the Loyola Faculty Club, the Board of Governors honoured Donald McNaughton for his long service, going back to 1974. He was named Governor Emeritus when he retired in June. Fellow Governors Emeritus Mildred Lande, André Gervais, Henry Habib, Claude Taylor and John Economides were present.

The Board also elected well-known broadcaster, commentator and executive director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce Marianna Simeone to the Board. Her term will run until June 30, 2002.

In his report, Rector Frederick Lowy referred to the "unfortunate incident" involving the arrest of two Concordia Student Union (CSU) representatives during the November 4 student protest against education cutbacks, and deplored the fact that the arrests occurred in the Henry F. Hall Building.

Speaking of the annual Maclean's ranking, Lowy underscored the dubious criteria still used by the magazine, although Concordia was the only Quebec university to rise in the rankings. Lowy also reported on his visit to Hong Kong to attend the founding of the Hong Kong Concordia Foundation. (See page 5)

Graduate Student Association (GSA) representative Martin Kapustianyk, pointing out that funding for graduate scholarships during the capital campaign fell far short of expectations, made an appeal for help. The Board will take up the issue.

A motion to support the Concordia Women's Centre with a 27-cent-per-credit fee, which had been ratified by a CSU referendum, was passed by the Board.

There was a lengthy discussion about the Marriott contract, prompted by questions from Rob Green and Fine Arts representative Sabrina Stea concerning the budget item on the audit report. The contract runs out in a year and a half. Vice-Rector Services Charles Emond explained that the food service budgeting is complex. Marriott expects to make a fair profit and needs exclusivity clauses to achieve this. Marriott did not make a profit this year because of increased competition, reduced sales and new taxes.

Part of Marriott's expenses are commissions paid to the university to cover the costs of their operations to the university, the most significant being charges for the space they occupy that could be used for other university purposes. This contrasts with the student-run JavaU, for which the CSU is charged much less rent.

Emond added that there is certainly room for discussion concerning student club requests to allow bake sales and other fund-raising activities involving the sale of food. Other concerns of some student groups regarding exclusivity and pricing were duly noted. It was suggested that the expertise of the real estate committee of the Board be enlisted when the bid for food services at the university is put up for tender.

Another long discussion ensued over a motion of support for the student strike already passed by Senate. Vice-Chair John Parisella, although supporting the spirit of the motion, urged student representatives to be more realistic in their demands for the return of over $1.9 billion cut from Quebec universities over the past five years. He encouraged them to mobilize to unblock some of the $3 billion in federal Millennium Scholarship money that is tied up in federal-provincial wrangling. The motion was approved.

Sr. Eileen McIlwaine raised the issue of the uncollegial nature of some of the interventions of CSU President Rob Green and the lack of decorum during the meeting. Four students wearing gas masks and bandannas and carrying garbage bags and brooms entered the meeting room and remained for most of the meeting. At times, the "BOG squad" circulated around the room taking photos and intervened with cheering and booing at several points during the discussion. Several of the other Board members, as well as some student representatives, also expressed their dismay at the tone of some of the interventions.

Several faculty members asked whether one had to be a student taking courses at the university to sit on the Board. The criteria for student representation on the Board will be looked into.

Provost Jack Lightstone ended the meeting by expressing, on behalf of the Concordia community, his appreciation for the work of the Board members from the community at large, the need for continued support and ongoing partnerships with the corporate community, and Concordia's commitment to academic independence and freedom.


Copyright 1999 Concordia's Thursday Report.