Concordia Board of Governor, Provost and Vice-President Attends CSU Council

Graham Carr Presentation Derailed, Councillors Raise Questions on Student Representation

Graham Carr was faced with question about student representation within Concordia’s governing bodies on Wednesday’s council meeting. File photo Brian Lapuz

The Concordia Student Union council had Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs for Concordia Graham Carr in attendance. Carr’s presence on Wednesday night prompted a discussion regarding student representation within Senate and the Board of Governors.

In light of Sophie Hough-Martin’s restrictions from sitting on the university’s Senate and Board of Governors, Carr was faced with questions regarding student representation and the Accreditation Act.

Hough-Martin, who is on conditional standing, cannot sit on Senate due to Concordia’s by-laws stating that a student must be in acceptable academic standing. However, last Senate meeting on Oct. 5 an ad hoc committee was approved to review changing the regulations barring those in conditional standing.

After the Carr’s presentation, in which he spoke about the university’s nine strategic directions plan, councillors and executives raised questions about student representation.

Carr acknowledged an Ad-Hoc committee was voted on last Senate meeting, however it was pointed out that the Concordia administration hasn’t been following the Act Respecting The Accreditation and Financing of Students’ Associations.

The amount of senators the CSU is eligible to have has seen a decrease, from 20 senators to 12, and on the Board of Governors it lowered from six to two representatives.

The question was raised on whether the university administration will begin to abide by Article 32 of the Accreditation Act, which states that accredited student associations alone have the right to appoint students to governing bodies within the university.

“Yes, there’s a difference in opinion between the CSU [and the administration],” responded Carr. “On the Senate, one, we agreed that we would strike a task force to look at the question of [Sophie] to sit on senate.”

“I think there’s not a harmony […] between the position of the university and the position of the CSU on that,” he continued.

“Whether or not it is intentionally pushing out students […] but I would argue that yes, students are being pushed out of the conversation especially with regards to how many of us are allowed to sit on governing bodies.”

Following Carr’s departure from the meeting, Hough-Martin, General Coordinator of the CSU and Finance Coordinator John Hutton further discussed their grievances regarding the university administration’s policies on who gets to sit on Senate and the Board of Governors.

“The administration feels that I am not fit to serve on any of their governing bodies despite having been elected with a mandate to do so,” said Hough-Martin.

“Which according to Article 32 […] we alone have the right to appoint students to these governing bodies.”

Hutton said that within other universities across Canada, Concordia’s policies are decades out of date.

Hough-Martin pointed out that out of the 18 universities in Quebec, Concordia is just one of three schools to have academic performance requirements to sit on Senate of the Board of Governors. She also noted that none of the U15 universities—the top research universities in Canada—have an academic performance requirements for their governing bodies.

She added that academic performance requirements—citing the Accreditation Act—is illegal, out of date, backwards and discriminatory. “There is a lot of reasons about a students personal life or other aspects that are outside of a students control,” said Hough-Martin in an email.

Whether or not the CSU will look to take legal action against the university, Hough-Martin declined to answer.