Against the Academic Plan

Provost Pitches, CSU Votes Against Five-Year Plan

  • Photo Adam Kovac

While the Concordia Senate is still deciding how it feels about the new five-year academic plan, the Student Union has taken a stance—voting to not accept the plan in its current state during Wednesday’s Council meeting.

The vote came after a lengthy presentation and Q&A session with Provost David Graham, the highest academic official at the school. Graham said that the academic plan’s point isn’t to turn Concordia into an “elite” university, but to push Concordia to the top of the list in terms of student satisfaction.

“It doesn’t mean making us into another kind of university,” said Graham. “It means making us into a better version of what we already are.”
Members of the CSU questioned the plan’s emphasis on attracting “high quality graduate students,” rather than focusing on the needs of current students.

“Why do we want to attract those really good graduate students? First of all, those really good graduate students are an important part of keeping really good faculty members.”

Graham also defended the lack of student representation on the working groups that produced the academic plan, saying that efforts had been made to get student input. “While there were no student members of the working group, there were many students who were involved in the consulting process,” he said.

When asked what would happen if the Liberals repealed the planned $1,625 per year tuition increase, Graham replied “Welcome to my nightmare world.”

“It is very clear that universities in Quebec are in peril,” he added. “It would probably be a nightmare if the government would do what you suggested.”

Graham’s presentation was followed by a rebuttal from Fine Arts Senator Andy Filipowich, who stressed the lack of student involvement in the working groups.

“Essentially this plan has been set and proposed by administration without student input, and then they ask for our consultation on it,” he said. “If they really wanted our consultation, they should have had us there in the first place.”

He noted that in original drafts, the goals in the plan for undergraduate students were not mentioned until the fourth point of the five-point plan.

Council was given a document put together by the Academic Caucus that listed a series of concerns, such as the plan being either too vague or too specific in parts, its implementation, a lack of detail in where the $25 million budget will be spent and the ability of Concordia’s next president to veto the plan, either in parts or as a whole.

Council then voted to support recommendations that included asking for “clearer guidelines on implementation […] An updated budget that specifies from where funding for the plan will come […] Policies that will encourage and acknowledge student engagement within community and campus organizations [and] a strong notion that the next President of Concordia University refrain from modifying the Academic Plan without sufficient consultation from all University bodies.”

The vote was largely symbolic—even with all 12 undergraduate senators voting against adopting the plan, it could still pass with a majority when Senate plans to vote on it at their meeting Nov.4.

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