Student Questions Go Unanswered at Senate

Admin Refuse to Discuss Possible Cohort Pricing and International Tuition Hikes

  • Representatives of the Concordia Student Union, in addition to student representatives on Concordia’s Senate attempted to open a dialogue about cohort pricing during the question period of a senate meeting on Dec. 9, 2016. Photo Kelsey Litwin

Representatives of the Concordia Student Union, in addition to student representatives on Concordia’s Senate attempted to open a dialogue about cohort pricing during the question period of a senate meeting on Friday afternoon.

The chair and Provost of Concordia, Graham Carr, answered the first couple of questions related to cohort pricing, but then he began to stay silent.

Cohort pricing is a new pay system for international students in deregulated programs. It aims to ensure that tuition fees are stable for the duration of a student’s studies at Concordia. If passed, it will be implemented during the 2017-2018 academic year.

“Questions around tuition are [Board of Governor] related issues and not really in the purview of Senate,” Carr said during the meeting. “We should keep that in mind in terms of what the responsibilities of this body.”

Senate has the final say on all matters in related to academic regulations and programs.

When the students pressed, Carr did not answer and asked for questions “on other topics.”

Concordia Student Union Academic and Advocacy Coordinator, Sophia Sahrane, said she expected the students’ questions to go unaddressed. It’s why the questions were initially centred on the academic consequences of the cohort pricing, Sahrane said.

Patrice Blais, the Vice-President, Collective Agreement and Grievance of Concordia University Part-Time Faculty, said he understood the students plight in not being heard in the discussions regarding cohort pricing.

“The students are saying that they were not consulted, and I did not see that allegation being refuted so I think that the administration has a responsibility to at least talk to the students,” Blais said. “I think the two sides should meet and have a frank conversation about it.”

Article 69 of the Concordia’s by-laws states that “in all matters, Senate may make whatever recommendations it deems appropriate to the Board of the Governors. Recommendations from Senate shall be conveyed to the Board of Governors by the President and Vice-Chancellor.”

President of Concordia and usual chair of Senate, Alan Shepard, was not present for this meeting. According to Sahrane, Shepard was supposed to talk about cohort pricing during his President’s remarks.

As of press time, the agenda and related documents for the next Board of Governors meeting on Dec. 14 have yet to be published. Documents are regularly up five days before the meeting.

The next Board of Governors meeting will take place on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. Non-governors, including students and press, are barred from attending the meeting, so an observer room will be set up in the John Molson School of Business building, room MB-1,210.

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