Highlights from the First Board Meeting
The first Board of Governors meeting of the school year was a short one, with open session wrapping up in a mere 30 minutes. The meeting mostly saw Concordia President Alan Shepard presenting his report on the current projects at the university.
“I am really thrilled by the harmony among the student groups,” said Shepard, referring to the myriad of culturally and religiously based student clubs that promote the diversity of Concordia.
Shepard restated his commitment to preserving the valuable multiculturalism at Concordia in the face of the possible Charter of Quebec Values being tabled in the National Assembly.
Shepard also noted the recent gains in labour negotiations, stating, “Having respectful relationships with our labour unions is important for our prosperity.”
The largest point in Shepard’s report was the record number of new students Concordia had admitted, with a total of 8,200 combined new graduate and
undergraduate students joining the university.
History professor and Board member Norman Ingram raised concerns over the 125 students re-admitted into his department after poor academic performance.
However, Shepard said that academic standards had not been adjusted in Concordia’s admissions policy.
Board member Sandra Betton from the John Molson School of Business told board members this influx of new students raises concerns over academic space, which is already in short supply at Concordia. Board Member Bill Lynch echoed those concerns.
This is especially a problem this semester, as H-110, the Hall building’s largest classroom space, is closed for construction until January.
Shepard noted that Concordia could add six per cent more space and receive more funding, citing provincial grant regulations for higher education.
One of the working groups formed after February’s Summit on Higher Education is working on an alternative to the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec, the former provincial body overseeing universities.
“Given the Department of Education in this province, the thing to watch out for is to not have government interference in Concordia’s Board,” said Board member Maria Peluso.