Consequences of BOG’s Actions

The sudden and unexplained departure of the president of the University has left the Concordia community stunned and shocked.
However, given Concordia’s recent administrative history we—faculty members, librarians, staff and students—should probably not have been surprised and we can only attempt to interpret this event in the context of that history. In a letter to full-time faculty members and librarians, I have outlined that history.

Allow me, however, to repeat that two presidents have stepped down within a three and a half year period and received enormous golden parachutes. We now know, from a CTV News clip on January 5, 2011, that Dr. Woodsworth has been asked to resign.

These two departures and others have created a climate of instability and unpredictability. One of the aims of Concordia is to be classified among the best three comprehensive universities in Canada, as this would attract more students, more funds and more potential faculty members of high calibre.

Our real quality is in fact much higher than our current reputation, but external perception, however inaccurate, plays a significant role in these external classifications.

The obvious impact on students is that these events harm the reputation of the university and make it much more difficult to attract well qualified and competent candidates for important senior administrative positions, such as president, provost or dean in the future.

It will also discourage some students from attending Concordia. It will adversely affect fundraising and it will fail to encourage applications from top notch potential faculty.

If fundraising is affected, Concordia’s ability to attract top graduate students is threatened. At the present time, Concordia does not provide enough scholarships and bursaries compared to our sister universities that are in the same large geographical area—for example, universities in Ontario. Also, there are not nearly enough bursaries and other monetary elements to reward our best undergraduate students and to help students in need.

Concordia’s reputation should not be tarred by apparent conflicts among and between some elements of the senior administration and the Board of Governors.

Why is it that Concordia has money for the very expensive departures of senior administrators and not enough money for scholarships, bursaries, etc.?

Similarly, Concordia has inadequate funding for the Library and a sufficient number of
staff employees who perform front-line services for students.

All this being said—and despite Aislin’s witless cartoon in The Gazette about Concordia’s alleged dysfunction—it is important to recognize that at the levels of teaching, supervising students’ work and faculty research, the real work of the university continues and functions very well. Concordia’s reputation should not be tarred by apparent conflicts among and between some elements of the senior administration and the Board of Governors.

However, this real work of the University would operate much better if we were not handicapped by the antics in the current spotlight.

—Dr. Lucie Lecien on behalf of the CUFA Executive, CUFA President / Présidente de l’APUC

This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 18, published January 11, 2011.

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