A regular meeting of the Concordia University Senate, held March 10, 2000.
Rector's remarks: Rector Frederick Lowy gave Senate an overview of the federal budget presented February 28 (see CTR, page 1, March 2). On January 29, he and other senior administrators presented their annual report to the Quebec government; they are opposed to a request from three other universities for preferential funding on the grounds that they are more heavily involved in research. The Rector reviewed the open meeting on the long-term space plan (see Open meeting, this issue, page 4).
Charles Emond: The Rector paid tribute to the contribution over the past three years of Charles Emond as Vice-Rector, Services. At the suggestion of Provost Jack Lightstone, who called him "a consummate gentleman," Senate gave Emond a vote of thanks. Mr. Emond replied by thanking Senate and all those who had contributed to his efforts, and welcomed Michael Di Grappa as his successor. He also made an appeal to all administrators to heed the university's environmental health and safety policies.
Convocation and exams: Registrar Lynne Prendergast announced that convocation dates have been revised, and the ceremonies will not take place in Place des Arts because of the protracted labour dispute (see notice on the Back Page). The dates, and the lateness of religious holidays this year, necessitated changes in the examination schedule; she appealed to faculty members to respect deadlines for marking, for the sake of graduating students.
Professor emeritus: Four resolutions were presented by Provost Jack Lightstone on behalf of a Senate task force. They would establish a two-tier system of honours: a universal award as yet to be named, and the special designation "professor emeritus." This was accepted in principle. A resolution to preserve the current criteria for professor emeritus was discussed at some length. Senate finally agreed that the criteria should emphasize "academic contribution to the university," and asked Steering Committee to work out detailed criteria. It was also resolved that a special committee be created to select candidates, and that the Board be asked to delegate final authority in this matter to Senate.
Commerce faculty council: Senate approved the addition of two staff representatives to the composition of Commerce and Administration Faculty Council, for recommendation to the Board. (The Faculty of Fine Arts has had staff representation for a number of years.)
General education graduation requirement: This policy was slated to begin September 2000, and a "distribution requirement" (specifying that students must take courses in disciplines other than their major) was passed last May. However, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences expressed the intention of providing curriculum specifically for this purpose. While this has not yet been presented, Lightstone introduced a motion to apply the policy to all newly accepted students for September 2001. Carried.
Student administrative fee freeze: An "administrative fee" was introduced in September 1998 of $6 per credit per student for the year 1998-99, and $9 for this year. The fee was to have risen to $12 per credit in 2000-01, but a student referendum last November to abolish the fee altogether was strongly supported. As a result, Concordia Student Union officials and administrators worked out a compromise that would see the fee stay at $9 per credit next year. The president of the Commerce students (CASA) felt he had to abstain because at a general assembly held before the negotiated settlement, his constituency had voted to keep the fee. Dr. Lowy and Dr. Lightstone advised Senate to support the freeze, although the increase would be imposed in future years if financially necessary. Mistie Mullarkey, speaking for the CSU, urged Senators to buy breathing space. Let's work together to pressure government to restore education funding, she said. The vote was 15 for, two against, with six abstentions. The resolution will go to the Board of Governors for approval.
Compiled by Barbara Black
Next meeting: April 7.
Copyright 2000 Concordia's Thursday Report.