Home News Missing meetings, without consequences

Missing meetings, without consequences

by Jacques Gallant March 6, 2012
The most recent Board of Governors meeting on Feb. 10, which ended abruptly when three student representatives left the room in protest, highlighted a serious issue when it comes to Concordia’s governing bodies: the difficulty at sometimes attaining quorum, or, the trouble at getting certain individuals to attend meetings at all.Board of Governors
The BoG meeting came to a halt because with the sudden departure of student governors AJ West, Cameron Monagle and Erik Chevrier, quorum, which is 21, was no longer met, effectively cancelling the meeting before it could go into open session. Keep in mind that the BoG is comprised of 42 members, so nearly half of the body’s governors were not in attendance that day.
Although the identities of those absent governors, as well as those who were missing at the January meeting, will not be revealed until the BoG approves its minutes at its next gathering on April 19, those members can at least rest assured that no form of discipline will be levelled against them.
Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota indicated that neither the BoG nor Senate have consequences in place for governors or senators who regularly miss meetings. There isn’t even a formal requirement for members to inform the secretary that they will be absent.
Mota explained that the “notice of the meetings always asks governors or senators to let the secretary know if they are unable to attend. Some do and some do not.”
According to the approved minutes from the BoG’s September, November and December meetings (October’s was cancelled due to “quorum issues”), five governors, all of whom are external members, missed two out of three meetings during the semester: Norman Hebert, Andrew Molson, Baljit Singh Chadha, Helene Fortin and Tony Meti.
According to student governor AJ West, who has yet to miss a BoG meeting, it isn’t just governors missing meetings that is problematic when it comes to attendance.
“I do notice that people leave the meetings too, which is also a problem because issues that we’ve [student governors] added to the agenda are often placed last,” he said.
West indicated that there should be a clear process in place for governors to submit their regrets for not attending.
“If you’re not showing up for one or two board meetings, I understand, but if you’re skipping more than half of them, perhaps governors should rethink their time commitments to the board, or their other commitments,” he said.Senate
At Senate, representatives tied for the top spot of senators who have missed the most meetings are both students.
Engineering and computer science representative Tina Salameh, who was elected by popular vote in last year’s general election, missed every single meeting this year except for September’s, and only officially resigned in late January. She said it appeared that Senate secretary Danielle Tessier wasn’t notified of her resignation, which is why she was marked absent at meetings when she had already considered herself as resigned. She listed school, work and health complications as reasons for leaving her position.
JMSB senator Daniel Shakibaian has so far only attended the September and November meetings. He said exams, case competition work and a job interview kept him away from Senate, and indicated that “it is disappointing that I have had other commitments that have coincided with Senate meetings: unfortunately, everyone seems to think that doing things on a Friday [the day Senate meetings are held] means that you’re available.”
After being contacted by The Concordian, Concordia Student Union President Lex Gill said she would ensure that a replacement for Tina Salameh on Senate be discussed at the next CSU council meeting. She also praised this year’s team of student representatives, saying “I want to point out how incredibly active undergraduate senators have been this year compared to previous years. I think if you look at committee minutes and meeting minutes from previous years you’ll see that too.”

CSU council
Out of the three governing bodies that likely affect Concordia students the most — the Board of Governors, Senate and CSU council — only the last of the three actually has consequences in place for representatives who regularly skip meetings, and the council chair has certainly had his fair share of councillors to discipline.
According to chair Nick Cuillerier, under the new bylaws that took effect March 1, councillors who miss three meetings or more are deemed to have resigned. Before March 1, the consequence would be that the councillor lose their voting privileges, but still be allowed to sit in on council meetings.
According to Cuillerier’s latest tally, four councillors have missed three meetings or more since last June: JMSB councillors Anthony D’Urbano and Ariel Dabora, and engineering and computer science councillors Fares Jandali Rifai and Emran Ghasemi. Only Ghasemi responded to The Concordian’s request for comment, saying that sports and his work with the SWARM, a group dedicated to building Concordia students’ support for the Stingers, has kept him very occupied over the past few months.
Although Cuillerier has kept a meticulous list of councillors’ attendance record, the same kind of organization cannot be said of the council’s meeting minutes. The minutes from several meetings have yet to be posted online, and were sent to The Concordian by council secretary Melissa Wheeler, who explained that with the recent departure of the CSU’ systems administrator, it has been difficult to find a “secure way” of uploading the minutes to the CSU’s website.
Nonetheless, some of the minutes don’t include a list of councillors present, while none of them indicate who was absent, even though both BoG and Senate meeting minutes do. Wheeler explained that her method of taking attendance is the same as past council secretaries.

SIDEBAR

Meetings missed 2011-2012

Board of Governors (all external members):

Norman Hebert – 2
Helene Fortin – 2
Baljit Singh Chadha – 2
Tony Meti – 2

Senate:

Tina Salameh (engineering and computer science student) – 4
Daniel Shakibaian (JMSB student) – 4
Prof. M. Reza Soleymani (engineering and computer science) – 2
Prof. William Sims (arts and science) – 2
Prof. Jason Lewis (fine arts) – 2
Prof. Michel Magnan (JMSB) – 2

CSU council:

Ariel Dabora (JMSB) – 4
Fares Jandali Rifai (engineering) – 4
Emran Ghasemi (engineering) – 4
Anthony D’Urbano (JMSB) – 3

Related Articles