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Board approves space plan, students will get centre

by Laurie Zack

After a four-hour discussion in closed session on April 19, the Board of Governors approved the long-term space plan for the university.

The plan was essentially the same one that was presented at the February 18 meeting of the Board (CTR, March 2), except for new provisions for the west side of Mackay St., directly across from the Henry F. Hall Building, which will be reserved for the future construction of a new downtown student centre. The student centre project grew out of ongoing discussions with student representatives and suggestions made at the space open meeting held March 6.

To address concerns about travel between campuses, an amendment was adopted to ensure that sufficient resources and support services be provided to meet the academic needs of students based on the Loyola Campus, especially with regards to courses in the social sciences and humanities.

The Board gave the go-ahead to continue work with the relevant government authorities for approval, with the proviso that the Board approve the business plan and funding arrangements of each project in the long-term plan.

Fees, fees, fees

In other business, the Board agreed to defer a $3-per-credit increase in the 2000-2001 administrative fee for students. At the same time, it also approved special broadcast media and People's Potato fees that were passed by a student referendum March 28 to 30. A Recreation and Athletics fee increase and Commerce Placement Centre and computer lab fees were also approved.

Asked about the seeming contradiction between adding student fees while decrying the administrative fee, Concordia Student Union Board representative Rob Green explained that students supported and approved by referendum the services that they would receive in return for the new fees. This was not the case with the administrative fee hike. Green also felt that the proposed administrative fee hike could sacrifice accessibility. Green praised the fee deferral as "a courageous step forward on the part of the administration."

Provost Jack Lightstone, while underlining his support of the fee deferral, nonetheless cautioned that accessibility and quality are both tied to adequate funding. Assuring a minimal funding level for the university means being able to provide decent financial support systems for students, adequate classroom space and proper teaching and support staff levels.

Rector Frederick Lowy reported that the Search Committee for a Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General had met twice and had approved the profile of the ideal candidate. Ads were placed in the major newspapers and Web sites of CAUT and AUCC. A special effort is also being made to inform women and minority groups about the position. The Search Committee is now interviewing directors who report to the Vice-Rector. George Vatistas was named Engineering and Computer Science representative on the search committee.

CFO Larry English, following up on questions at the last Board meeting about financial issues with student organizations, reported that a positive meeting was held with student representatives on March 27. Ongoing communication efforts, training for incoming student executives by Financial Services and improved financial controls had resolved the issues and will improve relations in the future. Rob Green agreed.

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