Concordia Senate Update

Voluntary Retirement Program and Building Renos Among Talking Points

The VA building is one on Concordia’s downtown campus which is in need of repairs. Photo Nikolas Litzenberger

Concordia’s voluntary retirement program is in full swing, as 109 full-time staff members and faculty have had their applications accepted, President Alan Shepard said at a Senate meeting on Nov. 4.

“The dust is still settling a bit,” he said. “We’re looking at what we need to do next.”

Shepard indicated that of the 109 applicants, 44 were faculty members and 65 were staff. The school is committed to replacing them as soon as possible, he said, adding that it would happen over time and not “instantaneously.”

The university first announced the program in September and began taking applications in October. The Link previously reported that Shepard had assured Ted Stathopoulos—president of the Concordia University Faculty Association—that all leaving professors would be replaced.

Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota said that vacancies are expected after the applicants leave on May 31, 2017, but couldn’t confirm if all leaving full-time faculty would have replacements.

Also announced at Senate was a master plan to renovate current buildings at the school. This will be done in order to increase the flexibility of school spaces to accommodate the increasing number of students and staff, according to Michel Nadeau, Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management.

A recent report published by Radio-Canada said that 63 per cent of Concordia’s buildings are in state of disrepair. The university responded that the many annex buildings along Mackay St. and Bishop St. downtown skews those numbers.

“When you look at square footage and the footprint of the university, those annexes represent very little, in the scheme of things,” Mota had said in a previous interview.
Nadeau said it is very difficult to modify the annexes.

Making them more accessible is also difficult and the best they can do is add a ramp to access the ground floor, however adding a ramp can take up a lot of space—space that is not always available, Nadeau said.

“We are looking at ways to improve, but these buildings will never be exemplary,” he said. “There will always be some difficulty associated with it.”

The university has looked into buying new buildings for the downtown campus, but space is limited.

“In fact there is actually nothing for sale right now,” said Nadeau. “Even if there was, you’re looking at prices that Concordia can not afford.”

He added that acquiring new spaces is not the best solution and more of a last resort, as the university wants to maximize the use of space they have now. He believes the school can get more use out of the existing classrooms and offices at Concordia.

During the meeting, the Senator from Fine Arts, Marion Miller, brought up the fact that conditions in the Visual Arts Building are currently less than ideal.

“We’re trying to get the big issues out of the way to make [the VA] building more comfortable and functional,” Nadeau said, adding that the master plan is still in development.